|Photos by Wynce Nolley|
Police blockades went up early this morning (Wednesday) around a sizeable chunk of Lafayette — including the areas surrounding Girard Park and the UL campus — after the discovery of two suspicious, bomb-like, devices.
The first device was found in a trash can before 5:30 a.m. at Girard Park, followed by the discovery of a second suspicious device on UL’s campus shortly after, says Master Trooper Brooks David, spokesman for Troop I of the Louisiana State Police.
Law enforcement, firefighters, bomb technicians and a hazardous materials team were sent to the scene, and shortly after road blocks were seen going up around the campus and the park, as well as a stretch of Johnston Street between Cajundome Boulevard and University Avenue. According to a press release sent out by Sgt. Kyle Soriez with the Lafayette Police Department, motorists are being asked to avoid the area altogether, including Johnston Street, St. Mary Boulevard, South College Road, W. Pinhook Road and University Avenue, as well as the Oil Center.
According to trooper David, who spoke by phone with The IND while on the scene this morning, authorities are in the process of a public evacuation from the campus and park, as well as a number of residences and businesses within the immediate area.
Though David wouldn’t specify the exact location of the device found on UL’s campus, he did say both are being treated “as explosive.”
“Our main focus right now is public safety,” says David. “But a very active investigation will be forthcoming by the Lafayette Police Department in conjunction with the UL police.”
As authorities attempt to defuse the potentially explosive devices, David says residents in the area may hear what he calls a “controlled explosion.”
“What they may hear is not a real explosion,” explains David. “What they would be hearing is the HAZMAT technicians utilizing resources to render the device safe.”