Bomb threat shuts down Charles R. Drew medical school in Willowbrook

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science campus in Willowbrook
The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science campus in Willowbrook was closed Tuesday.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Charles R. Drew University is set to reopen Wednesday after a bomb threat closed the medical school campus Tuesday.

The medical campus of the historically Black college and university in Willowbrook received a bomb threat early Sunday that led to the closure.

“CDU campus safety and local law enforcement completed a review of the grounds and facilities and determined that the campus is safe. The campus will reopen for limited operations” on Wednesday, the school said in a statement late Tuesday.


The Times obtained a copy of the threat sent from an individual who identified as a white male neo-Nazi who alleges to have planted three titanium nitrite sulfuric bombs around the eastern and northern parts of campus. The bombs were allegedly going to detonate about 1 p.m. Sunday.

“I want to show the Black population what the white man can do, we will take back our land!” the threat said.

Jonathan Zaleski, director of communications for Charles Drew University, said in an email statement that university officials discovered the emailed threat on Tuesday. It was sent “to a generic university email address” of the school’s president, David M. Carlisle.

“Out of an abundance of caution, CDU immediately closed the entire campus and notified authorities,” Zaleski said.

Last week, at least eight HBCU campuses were targeted with bomb threats, including Howard University in Washington and Xavier University in Louisiana. A bomb threat also forced the evacuation of Mt. San Antonio College on Jan. 4, although nothing was found in a search of the Walnut campus.

The university opened in 1966 and is named after Dr. Charles R. Drew, a Black physician from the early and mid-20th century who focused on blood banking and blood plasma storage and transfusion. He was also a distinguished surgeon and chair of surgery at Howard University.


More than 80% of Charles Drew University students are from communities of color and more than 71% of campus faculty are people of color, according to the college’s website.

Since opening, the university has graduated more than 600 physicians, 1,225 physician assistants and nearly 1,600 other health professionals, as well as trained over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its school of nursing has graduated more than 1,300 nursing professionals, including more than 950 family nurse practitioners.

Times staff writer Anita Chabria contributed to this report.