A suspect is taken into custody by Vernon RCMP after a bomb threat scare at the Lake City Casino Thursday.

A suspect is taken into custody by Vernon RCMP after a bomb threat scare at the Lake City Casino Thursday.

Lake City Casino bomb threat forces evacuations

A bomb threat was received at the casino on Anderson Way at about 11:15 a.m., forcing the immediate evacuation of patrons and staff.

There were some tense moments at Vernon’s Lake City Casino Thursday.

A bomb threat was received at the casino on Anderson Way at about 11:15 a.m., forcing the immediate evacuation of patrons and staff.

“They just asked us to leave. They didn’t tell us anything,” said Debbie Gilliard, who was in the building.

Ole Sather was also left wondering about what was going on.

“They made an announcement for everyone to exit through the front door,” he said.

Other adjacent businesses were also emptied as officials tried to determine the validity of the threat.

“They (police) said there was a bomb scare at the casino and it was supposed to go off at 11:30 a.m.,” said Ken Lehman, an account manager at TD Bank.

About 100 to 150 people were evacuated from all buildings and they were told to gather near Superstore, while access to Anderson Way was limited.

The incident began when an individual apparently entered the casino.

“He probably went in there to play or consume food or drink and he was refused service,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson.

The bomb threat was made as the individual was being escorted outside.

A 51-year-old Vernon man was taken into custody by police.

“He’s expected to face charges of uttering threats,” said Molendyk.

An explosives-trained police dog was brought in from Kelowna but a bomb was not located and people were given the  green light to go back into some businesses by 12:10 p.m.

Patrons and staff returned to the casino by about 12:45 p.m.

Molendyk says the possibility of a bomb had to be taken seriously.

“You don’t know what the situation is until you clear the place. People’s safety is paramount,” he said.

No one from Gateway Casinos, the parent company of Lake City Casino, could be reached for comment.