Bombs at General Hospital were real

A bomb scare Wednesday at San Francisco General Hospital turned out to be much more than the usual stray briefcase after police arrested a Peninsula teenager for planting two pipe bombs on hospital grounds.

In addition to allegedly planting the two bombs near the hospital Wednesday, police say they found a third bomb at the Belmont home of the 16-year-old suspect. The same boy also allegedly planted a bomb at the hospital May 22, San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said Thursday.

San Francisco police, including the bomb squad, responded to the hospital Wednesday after employees at the Behavioral Health Center called sheriff’s deputies — who provide hospital security — to notify them that they had received word of an explosive device on hospital grounds.

“The devices could have exploded. They were explosive devices,” Gittens said. “Additionally, they resembled a pipe bomb.”

A sheriff’s deputy found the first bomb at about 4 p.m. Wednesday just inside the exterior fence of the hospital on the 800 block of Potrero Street, Gittens said. The bomb was near the sidewalk, about 25 feet from the nearest hospital building.

Police found the second bomb near the hospital at about 9 p.m. in an area of trees and plants at the dead end of San Bruno Avenue, Gittens said. San Bruno Avenue ends in a cul-de-sac just north of the hospital.

Police rendered all the devices safe, Gittens said. Some people inside the hospital heard a popping sound as the devices were neutralized, but Gittens said none of the bombs exploded.

On May 22, a similar device was found in the northeast part of the hospital grounds, said Delvecchio Finley, a hospital administrator. That device and the bombs found Wednesday were found in the northern part of the hospital grounds, in the vicinity of the Behavioral Health Center.

Police have not said what the motive of the suspected bomber is.

Finley said Thursday that the hospital’s staff was meeting with the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department in a so-called after-action, where hospital staff and law enforcement would analyze their response.

“For the most part, we felt pleased with the response, not just from the hospital side but with our partners in the sheriff’s and police departments,” Finley said. He said there has been no major change in hospital protocol.

The suspect is being held at San Francisco Juvenile Hall, Gittens said.

amartin@examiner.com

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