'All clear' given at Cleveland Hopkins airport after bomb squad responds

Security consultant weighs in on response

CLEVELAND - A passenger at Cleveland Hopkins Airport could face a criminal charge of inducing panic after an unattended bag led to a partial evacuation Tuesday, a Cleveland police spokeswoman said.

A baggage handler noticed the unattended bag on a sidewalk outside the ticketing areas around 2:00 p.m., Airport Director Robert Kennedy said.

A witness told News 5 the bag looked like a guitar case and was seen near the north end of the terminal near the American Airlines counters.

Kennedy said a baggage person notified the TSA, who then alerted Cleveland Police. A K9 smelled something suspicious, prompting evacuations of the ticketing areas and a visit by the bomb squad.

“We have a security protocol,” he said. "Every person who wears a badge or works at the airport is part of that. Today’s demonstration of a bag handler notifying TSA, notifying Cleveland Police Department is evidence of how that works.”

An X-ray test came back as inconclusive. The “all clear” was given after a physical test of the bag ruled out any threat around 4:00 p.m.

Some passengers were left stranded by canceled and delayed flights, but independent security consultant Tim Dimoff told News 5 officials had little choice.

"I’d have to give them a B+,” Dimoff said. “They responded. They didn’t shut down everything and cause a major problem, but on the other end they respected the fact that it could be something and they needed to figure out what it was. They brought the dog in. They brought the experts in.”

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