Man charged for bomb threat at KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Richard Ellis, 63, of Kansas City, Kan., was charged Wednesday in Johnson County, Kan., with aggravated criminal threat for Tuesday’s evacuation on the University of Kansas Edwards Campus.

His bond was also set at $50,000.

Overland Park police say it was Ellis who stood up in a classroom and said he had explosives and grenades in his backpack. The professor in the classroom moved everyone out to safety, and faculty also pulled the fire alarm to get others in the building evacuated, police said.

“When I didn’t know what was going on, it was scary,” student Kendra Kruse told FOX4’s Dave D’Marko. “I assumed they would direct us elsewhere if it was a direct threat.”

Police arrested Ellis without incident and swept the buildings on campus, finding no evidence of a bomb anywhere. Students were allowed back inside the building about 45 minutes later, and classes resumed as normal for the rest of the evening.

“I hope they get help with whatever their problems are,” student Diane Vangoethem said of the man. “I don’t think that normal, mentally-healthy people make bomb threats.”

The charge against Ellis states he ‘communicated a threat to commit violence with the intent to cause… the evacuation, lockdown or disruption of regular, ongoing activities of a building…’

As part of his bond release, he’ll be on house arrest, will be tested for alcohol, drugs and controlled substances when ordered by the court.