Suspicious package interrupts church homecoming

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STANTONSBURG — A suspicious package that was left on a church’s front steps caused a four-and a half-hour disruption of homecoming activities Sunday.

According to Chief Orlando Rosario of the Stantonsburg Police Department, the package was discovered at 10 a.m. on the steps of St. James Holy Church, at 100 N. Main Street.

Rosario said the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office bomb ordnance detection dog and the State Bureau of Investigation bomb unit responded.

“We had the bomb dog actually go out there to the package and it had given a positive indication,” Rosario said.“The SBI came out, used their robot, investigated the package and scanned it,” Rosario said.

The 18-inch by 8-inch package was found to contain musical drumsticks, but no bomb.

“At 2:24 p.m. I was notified by the SBI that it was a false alarm,” Rosario said.

Rosario said Main Street was closed and the church was evacuated.

“On this particular day it was actually the church’s homecoming,” Rosario said. “That’s pretty much what brought it up to a heightened state with them having a large population on this particular and too, all of these suspicious packages that have been left throughout the country.”

More than 200 people were expected for the event.“The reason why the package was suspicious to was it was a white male that was seen dropping off the package in front of a predominantly African-American church during their homecoming,” Rosario said.

“Pretty much any packages that are left anywhere, especially in front of churches, or any kind of place of worship, are going to bring attention to our department. It is going to be treated seriously.”