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Off-campus incident

William & Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro sent the following messages to the campus community Oct. 20, 2017 - Ed.

10:50 p.m.
Dear William & Mary community - 
I have one last update regarding the incident last night in Merchants Square. 

I'm pleased to report that Williamsburg Police announced this evening that an arrest has been made in that case. Further details are available on the City's website 

Have a good Homecoming and stay safe.

Deb Cheesebro
Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police


3 p.m.

Dear William & Mary community,

I wanted to update you about last night’s incident in which an improvised explosive device was detonated in a Merchants Square parking lot off Boundary Street near campus.

As I noted this morning, we have been working closely with the Williamsburg Police Department and other agencies as they continue to investigate. At this time, there is no indication of any ongoing threat or a connection to William & Mary. There were no injuries reported during the incident. 

Authorities continue to investigate though Williamsburg Police believe this was an isolated incident. Detours on South Boundary and South Henry streets remain in place. We expect Francis Street to reopen later today.  

Williamsburg Police this morning also investigated the report of a possible explosive device in a car parked near Matthew Whaley Elementary School. However, police determined there was no threat after discovering the reported device was actually three propane tanks for cooking.

Homecoming Weekend activities at the university, including today’s parade down Richmond Road, will proceed as scheduled. However, community members will likely see additional security measures and an increased police presence throughout the Williamsburg community that are being implemented out of an abundance of caution. 

Anyone with questions or concerns about the incident in Merchants Square can contact Williamsburg Police, the agency leading the investigation, at 757-220-2331. 

Deb Cheesebro
Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police


9:30 a.m.

Dear William & Mary community -

I write this morning about an incident you may see in the news.

Last night there was an explosive device discovered off-campus in a Merchants Square parking lot at Francis and S. Boundary Streets (P5). The report was made to Williamsburg Police around 5 p.m. No injuries have been reported.

Though this was not on-campus, know the proximity is close. While the investigation is continuing, there is no indication of any ongoing threat. Williamsburg Police and other agencies are handling the investigation.

Francis Street is currently closed between S. Boundary and S. Henry Streets. Detours are in place.

William & Mary Police were on-scene last night and we continue to follow this closely but again, see no ongoing threat to campus.

Deb Cheesebro
Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police

Updates were made to these messages noting that the exact location of this incident was a parking lot in Merchants Square - Ed.