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Sunday, March 03, 2024

A bomb hoax on an RTS bus Monday night caused a road block on Northwest 23rd Terrace.

Two black males entered a Route 35 RTS bus and said, "Attention, this is gonna be a very short ride," sitting down with a large duffle bag, said Cpl. Angelina Valuri of the Gainesville Police Department.

Julius Irving, 24, and Walcott Decastro, 25, were overheard saying they had a bomb in the bag, Valuri said. Police received a call at 8:32 p.m.

"A girl called law enforcement about the two men. GPD performed a traffic stop on the bus. The bus was evacuated and the two men were detained," Valuri said.

The Alachua County Sheriff's officers met GPD on the scene. Southwest 23rd Terrace was blocked off from the Archer Road intersection until the roundabout at Southwest 35th Place.

Buses, cars and pedestrians were redirected, leaving many residents waiting to go home.

"I was taking the 35 home, but instead of going down [23rd] it went all around Archer, down 34th, turned on 35th and left us at that roundabout," UF history senior Paul Crucet said. "The driver said it was a car accident. I heard it was a bomb threat from the police when I tried to walk home."

Crucet was among many students who were leaving campus and stranded for more than half an hour off of 23rd Terrace.

"A girl came by from the bus they were talking about. They didn't tell her it was a bomb threat. She heard it from us. She said they interrogated the people on the bus and then let them go," Crucet said.

Meanwhile, a bomb dog was brought on-site to perform a search, Valuri said. Nothing was in the duffel bag but clothes. The men were arrested and charged for a false report of a hoax bomb.

"The dog was actually brought in by UPD," Valuri said. "It was an effort from all three departments."

The 2-year-old German shepherd, Rocky, was brought in by his partner and handler, UPD Officer Henri Belleville.

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