Police: Man Arrested for Bomb Threat at Minnesota Pro-Life Event

Samuel Vanderwiel, charged with a bomb threat at a Minnesota community college pro-life event.
Olmsted County

One man has been arrested after a bomb threat at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minnesota. The threat was made on Wednesday evening at an event hosted by the pro-life organizations Students for Life of America and 40 Days of Life.

A theater in Rochester Community and Technical College was evacuated on Wednesday as emergency responders arrived at the scene to investigate a suspicious package that had been found the room during the event, according to a report by KIMT3 News.

The event taking place inside the theater was a pro-life presentation hosted by Students for Life of America and 40 Days of Life, featuring guest speaker Noah Maldonado, a Students for Life regional coordinator. According to the organization, a man who had been “suspiciously roaming around the event,” appeared to mix chemicals, and then “dropped a package and left.”

Olmsted County arrest records reveal that Samuel Vanderwiel, who was arrested as a result of the bomb threat, has been charged with one felony count of terroristic threats cause terror with reckless disregard, one count of 5th degree assault; one count of disorderly conduct; and one count of public nuisance annoy/injure/endanger safety; all misdemeanors.

Maldonado said that the man seemed “very agitated during the event and was reportedly mixing chemicals together in his backpack in the center of the room before leaving in a hurry. Many members of the audience were disturbed by the erratic behavior and reported the smell of ammonia.”

“Unfortunately, during the presentation, the police came into the room and let us know that there was a potential bomb situation happening in the room,” added Maldonado. “So we actually had to evacuate everyone in the room — it was so amazing to see such a fast response from all the emergency responders.”

The Rochester Fire Department said it was “called for a report of a suspicious container with liquid inside left inside an occupied theater.” After examining the suspicious container, the fire department determined that the liquid inside it had “a slight reading of ammonia.”

Some people who evacuated the theater reported having symptoms, such as scratchy throat, headache, and chest irritation, according to the fire department, which added that those individuals were then evaluated by the Mayo Ambulance Service, but “none were transported by ambulance.”

“It’s disappointing that a pro-choice student finds it appropriate to scare innocent children and families and try to intimidate them from peacefully praying and sidewalk counseling. However, it’s not surprising,” said Maldonado, who added that this had not been the first instance of harassment, vandalism, and threats against pro-life students.

In May, for example, an arsonist at Western Washington University set fire to a pro-life poster promoting a speaking event featuring Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins.

“The Pro-Life Generation will not be silenced or intimidated,” said Hawkins in a statement to Breitbart News. “This is not the kind of back-to-school story anyone hopes for, but no matter the opposition, Students for Life will bring our message of hope to campuses in all 50 states.”

“We will continue to promote non-violence to advance the dialogue on the human rights issue of our day,” concurred Maldonado. “And we will embrace the controversy of abortion and will never stop standing in solidarity with pregnant moms, families and their pre-born children.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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