Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor went on lockdown for several hours Thursday and deployed a bomb-disposal robot after a man trying to drive onto the nuclear submarine base claimed to have improvised explosive devices with him.
Guards arrested the man and pulled him out of his black sport-utility vehicle about 9 a.m. at the main gate in Silverdale.
The man claimed to be wearing an explosive device and to have another one in his vehicle, according to Navy officials.
They told reporters the situation at the base was “under control” Thursday afternoon.
Base commanding officer Capt. Alan Schrader declined to comment on the suspect, except to say that he was being interrogated, with the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service involved.
He said the base’s security measures worked.
“The very first possible place to stop, he was stopped,” Schrader said.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office also declined to identify the suspect.
KOMO-TV reported that a Kitsap County Sheriff vehicle drove the suspect away from the naval base late Thursday afternoon.
Washington State Patrol spokesperson Robert Brazas said troopers cordoned off a mile-wide area around the base’s Trident gate. State Routes 304 and 308 were closed for hours, as well as exit ramps from state Route 3.
"You have to remember it’s in a vehicle, and if you have a device go off in a vehicle, then you have other issues that go with it – there's shrapnel and things,” Brazas said. “You always go a little big when there’s a vehicle involved."
A Navy bomb squad sent a four-wheeled robot to inspect the vehicle.
“They have identified something that's unusual in the vehicle, and because this guy has claimed something, they need to basically have a bomb squad response to verify it is or is not an explosive device," Brazas said.
Residents and some neighbors of the sprawling naval station were advised to shelter in place and stay away from their windows. Entrance gates reopened gradually in the afternoon, with the base’s Trident gate, where the bomb threat occurred, still closed after 3 p.m. Thursday.
Schrader declined to provide more information to reporters Thursday afternoon, “This issue remains under investigation,” he said.
Correction, 2:45 p.m., 2/23/2018: An earlier version of this story misidentified the naval base where the bomb threat took place.