Homeless man’s bomb threat was hoax, police say
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A suspect has been taken into custody by police in West Texas after he allegedly listed Encinal as one of his targets in a bombing campaign that included a threat against an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) representative.
Encinal police were notified after the OSHA representative informed the department of the man’s threat shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, August 11.
According to a report on the case, 42-year-old Jose Reyes called the Corpus Christi center and was demanding money and claimed that if he did not get his money he would set off a bomb.
“He specifically mentioned a town in the call,” Encinal Lt. Angel Esparza said in a phone interview this week. “He said ‘Sweetwater, Texas,’ but when you listen to it, it sounds like he says ‘Encinal, Texas.’”
Esparza said the department immediately evacuated the water plant, the elderly and residents who lived in a two-block radius of the water plant.
Officers continued to investigate the potential threat and reported later that they learned Reyes is “a troubled homeless man who is mentally unstable and lives in Sonora.”
Residents were housed for two hours at two safe centers in Encinal, the La Salle County Nutrition Center and City Hall.
Sonora Police and the Sutton County Sheriff’s Office have reported they were able to locate Reyes. The man resisted arrest and was subsequently subdued by officers using a Taser during a struggle.
Reyes allegedly admitted to officers that he made the call and it was ‘all a hoax,’ according to investigators.
“Our first priority was to evacuate all the residents and hold the site for the Laredo bomb squad who has the proper training,” the police lieutenant said. “Reyes was detained and questioned while the bomb squad was en route, so they turned around.”
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, La Salle County Fire Rescue, game wardens, US Border Patrol agents, Texas state troopers and the Texas Rangers assisted the department in its response to the threat.