CREVE COEUR, Mo. (AP) — Two suspicious packages that caused a suburban St. Louis hospital's emergency room and a nearby interstate highway to be shut down don't appear to have contained explosives, police said after a bomb squad blew up one of the packages.
An emergency medical technician at Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur spotted what they thought were suspicious packages around 10:30 a.m. Monday as a mental health patient in his 50s was being checked into the hospital, Creve Coeur Police Capt. Tim Koncki said.
A hospital employee took the packages outside, where he left one near the hospital's helipad and the other one directly on it. The hospital shut down its emergency room as a precaution, and a section of Interstate 270 was closed in both directions.
A bomb squad remotely blew up one of the packages around 1:15 p.m., and the emergency room and I-270 were reopened less than an hour later.
One of the packages appeared to contain a cellphone with wires, while the second, a duffel bag, contained clothes and tennis balls, said Sgt. Shawn McGuire, spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department. The bomb squad blew up the package containing the cellphone.
Hospital spokeswoman Katie Burckhalter said the employee who rushed the packages outside appeared to have acted appropriately.
The mental health patient did not make any threatening statements, and it's unclear if he will face any charges, Koncki said.
The bomb scare came at a time of heightened jitters a day after a gunman killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, making it the nation's deadliest mass shooting.
McGuire called the reaction to the packages "an example of a great coordinated response from all departments involved to keep the public safe."
CREVE COEUR, Mo. (AP) — Officials have closed the emergency room at a hospital in suburban St. Louis along with a portion of Interstate 270 after two suspicious packages were found on the hospital campus.
Mercy Hospital officials and Creve Coeur police say the packages were found Monday, one near the helicopter landing area and the other on a sidewalk near the emergency room. The hospital is near I-270, a portion of which was closed as a precaution.
Messages seeking comment from police were not immediately returned.
Hospital spokeswoman Bethany Pope says no patients or workers are in harm's way, but the ER is closed "out of an abundance of caution." Pope says police are investigating the devices to determine if they are explosives.
The rest of the hospital remains open.