July 19 (UPI) — A Kansas City Ford assembly plant was evacuated Tuesday evening as police investigate a possible threat called in of an armed and disgruntled employee at the facility, authorities said.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the plant in Claycomo, Mo., was evacuated after a man claiming to be a disgruntled employee armed with explosives, a rifle and a handgun called Ford at about 5:20 p.m. saying he had barricaded himself in the facility’s second-floor bathroom.
The Special Tactics and Response Team were deployed to search the building, with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office stating in a Tuesday night update that an initial search of the location was unable to locate anyone, but additional tactical teams from around the area were on their way to aid in clearing the facility.
The sheriff’s office cautioned that the report may have been a possible swatting call, but “we treat the threat as real until we prove otherwise.”
Swatting is the criminal act of calling an emergency service with the intent of having heavily armed law enforcement deployed to a victim’s location.
The person who made the call to Ford had given a name that did not match any employees at the site but the person said they worked under a supervisor who is employed at the plant.
“We have not been able to make contact with him since that time,” the sheriff’s office said. “We pinged his phone and believe that phone number that he used may be spoofed.”
According to the plant’s website, it has a workforce of some 7,250 employees.
United Auto Workers Region 4, which includes the Ford plant, confirmed in a statement that the facility had been evacuated following “many credible reports of an extremely volatile situation.”
“Thankfully, we have no reports of our members being in harms way,” it said.