Video above: KSN News at 6 p.m.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police said no explosive device was found at the Trust Women abortion clinic at 5107 E. Kellogg Drive. The investigation started after 7 a.m. on Wednesday and continued into the afternoon.
Kellogg reopened to traffic in both directions between Oliver and Rock Road. Police said streets near the clinic would be closed for a while.
KSN News contacted a Sedgwick County 911 dispatch supervisor just after 7 a.m., who said a suitcase was found at the clinic. At a briefing at 9:30 a.m., police wouldn’t confirm the device’s location. The suspicious device came one year after Kansas voters resoundingly voted to protect abortion rights.
The Wichita Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team evaluated the device. Police said the FBI and AFT are assisting in the investigation.
“Our technicians and our crime scene investigators will work through all of that for the rest of the day and determine what is in there, who put it there, and so on and so forth,” said Lt. Aaron Moses, WPD, said. “The criminal investigation into the matter is continuing. It is active and ongoing.”
The Wichita Fire Department, Sedgwick County EMS, and Kansas Highway Patrol responded.
Trust Women sent the following statement at 12:45 p.m.:
“This morning, a suspicious package was found by our security at our Wichita location. Standard procedure was followed and the Wichita Police Department was called in to investigate. As of this release, they are continuing that investigation. Staff had not yet arrived at the clinic, and no patients were scheduled, so fortunately minimal disruption to our services has been necessary.
We are grateful for our security staff and their dedication in keeping our clinic, staff and patients safe. Yet, we must also strongly condemn the continued violence directed at all abortion providers in this region and across the country by authoritarian extremists. This violence does not come from nowhere: it is a direct effect of the continued attacks on abortion rights by anti-abortion media, activists and legislators who irresponsibly use flagrant misinformation and hyperbolic and triggering imagery to advance their political goals.
Our clinic, like so many independent abortion clinics across the country, is a place of medicine, healing and love for our communities. Our patients find compassion and solidarity at our clinic, once they’ve made it past the vitriol and hatred of the extremists at our gates. On this anniversary of Kansas’ historic and resounding rejection of the anti-abortion amendment, ironically titled “Value Them Both”, it cannot be overstated: all violence is external to the movement for reproductive rights and justice; while we provide critical medical care for thousands of people displaced from their homes by the actions of their own legislatures, incidents of harassment, threats and attacks have increased. Who do they truly value through these actions?
We will continue to provide our staff and patients with the safest possible environment, through the vigilant efforts of our security staff and cooperation with law enforcement agencies. We take every threat and incident seriously, and do not take lightly our responsibility to our community.”
The police department said area businesses had been contacted about the suspicious device and that residents nearby were asked to shelter in place or evacuate.
“So the investigation close to the business where this incident occurred will remain shut down. We will collapse the perimeter as much as we possibly can,” said Lt. Moses. “We will work with the businesses to get them back open as quickly as possible.”
WPD Chief Joseph Sullivan wanted to thank businesses and the community for cooperating. He also said the security officer did a great job catching the suspicious device.
“They saw an object that didn’t belong there and created a safe distance and called for the police, and now, we were able to ensure that it was safe in the proper way,” Sullivan said. “Hats off as well to the security at the facility, and we do have good communication with them, and they cooperated with us throughout the morning.”
Watch the three news conferences below:
KSN News will continue to follow this story and have the latest on KSN newscasts and KSN.com.