Commissioner Bratton: Schools threat a 'hoax'

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The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, was closed Tuesday after an electronic threat was made reportedly involving backpacks and packages left at campuses. The Los Angeles Police Department ordered the closure of all schools immediately. 

Speaking to reporters, Superintendent Ramon Cortines said parents were notified and students were sent home following the "credible threat."

"This is a rare threat. We get threats all the time. I am not going to take the chance with the life of a student," said Cortines.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the threat -- an email -- was directed at a school board member Monday evening.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting the LAPD and LAUSD in their investigation.

But speaking with reporters in New York City, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the threat was made to schools across the country including the NYC public school system, the largest in the country. He described it as a "hoax." An email said that the schools would be attacked with pressure cooker bombs, nerve gas agents, machine pistols and machine guns, the AP reported.

"We are very comfortable that this is not a credible threat. (I'm) concerned with people overreacting to it." said Bratton.

Bratton, who once ran the Los Angeles Police Department, quipped that it looked like the sender watched a lot of the Showtime show "Homeland."

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio also addressed reporters. 

"The NYPD intelligence division has been in touch with the FBI throughout the morning. Our school system remains fully open," said de Blasio.

Later in the day, Cortines updated the media on the closure.

"The investigation is not complete. Somebody has sent information that leads us to pause and make sure that our children and our staff are safe," said Cortines.

Schools would remain closed until the threat was cleared, which they expected to happen by the end of the day.

The electronic threat was still being analyzed.

"We will continue to hope that this is nothing and that our children can be back at school tomorrow," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The district has 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.

The LAUSD spans 720 square miles including Los Angeles and all or part of more than 30 smaller cities and some unincorporated areas.

With the Associated Press