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Explosives Found in Dorm Room; 455 Evacuated Safely; Student Arrested; Campus Operations Continue as Scheduled

March 6, 2008

8:40 A.M. -- About 455 freshman students were safely evacuated from a UC Davis campus dormitory last night after police found explosive materials in a student's room.

All campus activities will continue as scheduled today.

"We evacuated students as a precaution. We do not expect further disruption to the university," said Fred Wood, vice chancellor for student affairs. "We are confident that university police and other local law enforcement agencies have the situation contained."

Police arrested the room's resident, economics major Mark Christopher Woods, an 18-year-old freshman from Torrance, Calif., and charged him with two felonies: possession of chemicals to make explosives and possession of explosive materials on school grounds.

All the residents of the dormitory were evacuated immediately after the materials were found, as a precaution. They spent the night in a safe location -- the Tercero Dining Commons.

Campus emergency officials conferred and determined there was no threat to wider campus safety and therefore it was not necessary to activate the emergency notification system.

The incident began at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday (March 5), when UC Davis police received a call from a woman who said there might be explosive devices inside a dormitory room.

Police went to the room, located on the third floor of one of the Tercero Residence Halls, a cluster of buildings located on the west side of the main campus, near the junction of Interstate 80 and Highway 113.

Upon finding suspicious materials, police evacuated the building and withdrew to a safe distance until the arrival of other law enforcement and fire agencies, including regional bomb squads and agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and FBI.

After a search warrant was issued, the bomb experts assessed the materials in the room. They are expected to remove the materials later this morning to the FBI crime lab in Sacramento for analysis.

Students will be allowed then to return to their rooms.

Woods remains in UC Davis Police custody. Later today he will be transferred to the Yolo County Jail in Woodland.

Police investigators say there is nothing to indicate that this case was related to a terrorist act. The investigation is continuing.

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