CSU Police Make Arrest in Series of Bomb Threats

Columbus State University Police arrested a Phenix City man Monday morning, just after they believe he made his fifth bomb threat against CSU.

Lawrence E. Price, 45, of 67 McMurrian Drive, was charged with five counts of making terrorist threats, and one count each of carrying a weapon to school, possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime and obstruction of a peace officer.

The weapons charges relate to officers’ discovery of several guns in Price’s pickup truck when he was arrested in a parking lot near Lenoir Hall just after 8 a.m.

University records show Price was enrolled as an upperclassman in the biology program.

According to University Police, someone had called in bomb threats against the university twice in the last two weeks. During the first call on Oct. 29, the caller did not give enough information to warrant evacuation of any buildings. The second call, on Oct. 31, prompted officials to evacuate the Faculty Office Building for a few hours.

During both incidents, University Police consulted extensively with the Columbus Police Department, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s bomb squad. University Police also followed up on the threats by consulting with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Based on information from those consultations, officers suspected the caller might make another threat, said University Police Chief Rus Drew.

University Police identified a location where the calls had originated and, during an undercover operation Monday morning, they identified a suspect after a call indicating the presence of a bomb at CSU was made to the Columbus Police Department and to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

After police verified the call and its location, they arrested Price in a parking lot near Lenoir Hall. Inside Price’s 1997 pickup truck, they found two rifles, a shotgun, a small handgun, a compound bow, an axe, an antique saw, three bottles of alcohol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

A Bomb Squad dog checked Price and his truck thoroughly and found no indication of explosives. University Police alerted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Phenix City Police.

“We had a lot of help in the middle of this from a variety of local agencies, but I really want to credit the officers here in the University Police department for taking this threat seriously, following through on it and making an arrest,” Drew said.

For more information, call University Police Chief Rus Drew at 706-568-2022.