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Police arrest patient who threatened to bomb hospital ER, leading to evacuation

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 25, 2024
Emergency Medicine
Alfred Z. Solomon Emergency Center (Photo courtesy of Saratoga Hospital)
Police in upstate New York have arrested a man for threatening to bomb Saratoga Hospital from inside its emergency room.

Jonathan Gardner, 31, from Schenectady, New York, told staff at the facility on the morning of March 21 that he had a bomb on him, prompting workers to call the Saratoga Springs Police Department around 8 a.m. to report the incident. At the time, the man was being treated in the ER for an undisclosed condition.

In response to his bomb threat, the hospital evacuated the entire department, and patrol division members scoured the area until they found the suspect.

“After a sweep by an explosive detection canine team, it was determined that the suspect did not possess a bomb,” said Saratoga Springs Police Department in a statement.

Gardner was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident in the 2nd degree, a class E felony.

He was processed and arraigned in the City Court of Saratoga Springs and held pending a future court appearance and payment of $500 cash bail, $2500 partial bond, or $5000 bond.

“Our hospital community came together in a moment’s notice. We are grateful for their ongoing support of our commitment to keeping our patients, families, and staff safe,” reads the statement. “Although the event was disruptive, we continued to provide care for our patients, and no harm was caused,” said hospital administrators in a statement.

Bomb threats were previously made against three hospitals in Texas back in 2022, leading to an evacuation and police sweep as well. A Canadian man was arrested around the same time for also making these threats to Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other sites.

Police say there is no active threat to public safety at this time.

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