Suspicious package found near North Star Elementary was false alarm, say local law enforcement

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North Star Elementary students and staff were put on alert Wednesday morning after a suspicious wooden box was placed near the building. Cyndy Mika is the Kodiak Island Borough School District Superintendent. Mika says staff notified both Alaska State Troopers as well as the Kodiak Police Department immediately after discovery.

Families waiting in line to pick up their children from Bayside Fire Hall
Families waiting in line to pick up their children from Bayside Fire Hall (Brian Venua/KMXT)

“The school was placed into shelter in place away from the suspicious package,” she said. “Students were evacuated by bus to Bayside fire station by mutual decision of law enforcement and the district in an abundance of caution.”

According to a statement from Alaska State Troopers Communications Director Austin McDaniel, the box turned out to be empty. Troopers contacted the individual who placed the box near the school. The individual said they found it on the side of the road and assumed it belonged to a student or staff member. 

After the evacuation, parents lined up outside Bayside Fire Station in the cold to pick up their children. One parent, who declined to give their name, shared their experience.

“We were told that they were sheltering in place and that there was a suspicious package and then we got a phone call saying that we needed to come down here to Bayside and pick up our children,” they said.  “So we’re here standing in line, just waiting to get our kid.”

The parent says they appreciated the school’s caution.

“Better safe than sorry,” they said. “It’s kind of scary but I’m just glad they’re safe.”

Kodiak Police Chief Tim Putney says the department worked with multiple agencies to ensure safety during the investigation.

Troopers and KPD blocked entry to North Star Elementary during the investigation. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

“Troopers, wildlife troopers, and KPD responded to the school and secured the area,” he said. “Bayside fire, Kodiak fire, US Coast Guard fire, and Coast Guard military police all helped with the aftermath.”

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also assisted local law enforcement, according to the troopers.

Superintendent Mika thanked emergency response staff and the community for their patience during the evacuation. 

“The professionalism of staff and our law enforcement and fire department partners allowed this effort to go as smoothly and timely as possible,” she said. “We thank parents, families and caregivers for their patience and understanding.”

The district will also review their actions with emergency response partners in an effort to improve future procedures. Students will return to North Star tomorrow and counselors will be available for both students and staff members.

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