DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A police bomb squad took apart a device police described as “alarming,” near a pro-life vigil outside a Dallas abortion center Friday. Police determined the device was ultimately harmless, but meant to cause fear.
Volunteers with the Catholic Pro-Life Committee found the item near the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center on Greenville Avenue Friday morning.
The group’s executive director described it a small black package, wrapped with rope and a black trash bag. It was placed off the sidewalk, near a box volunteers use to keep prayer pamphlets and other materials.
“I think they were being cautious, because it was clearly a mysterious item, that seemed to have some type of purposeful reason for being there,” said Becky Visosky.
Police evacuated several businesses in the office complex and checked other similar locations around the city but found nothing there.
Bomb squad officers used a robot to remove the package and open it. Chief David Pughes said they determined there was nothing explosive or flammable inside, but was clearly put in the location with the intent for someone to find it.
“The pictures of the device before we were able to dismantle it, and get an understanding of what it really was, was an alarming thing to see,” he said.
Visosky said the incident came just over a week after volunteers watched a man dump out their pamphlets, spill red paint on the sidewalk and leave a doll, with no head, and the words “Pro-choice” written on it.
The group is in the middle of the annual 40 Days For Life campaign, where they coordinate praying in shifts outside locations where doctors perform abortions.
An administrator with Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, Alicia DeWitt-Dick, said she had met with police about the incident and was thankful for their response.
She wasn’t aware of any vandalism directed toward the pro-life group until media reports Friday, and said there had been no recent threats directed toward the center.