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Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant deemed safe after evacuated for threat

Aug 18, 2023

A Ford assembly plant in Missouri has been deemed safe after the company received a call Tuesday about a man who claimed to be armed with explosives and guns at the plant.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found no active threat at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri, after hours of security sweeps in response to an anonymous call, the Clay County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday.

"The situation began at around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday when a phone call came into Ford's safety and risk management team," according to a news release from the sheriff's department. "A man on the line claimed to be armed with explosives, a rifle and a handgun. He told them he was barricaded on the second floor bathroom in the paint area of the plant."

Ford ceased all production, evacuated the plant and canceled the night shift, the news release said. The road in front of the Ford plant was closed, and the public was asked to avoid the area.

"The man who called said he was an employee and was disgruntled. He gave a name that is not an actual employee of the paint area. He did name his supervisor, and that was the correct name. We have not been able to make contact with him since that time. We pinged his phone and believe the phone number that he use may be spoofed," the department said.

"Our Special Tactics and Response Team is entering the plant to find the source of the threat. It is possible this is a swatting call, but we will treat the threat as real until we can prove otherwise. Our negotiators are on scene, as well, and have been unable to make contact."

The term swatting is used to describe a situation where a prank call is made to an emergency services agency in an attempt to get law enforcement agencies to dispatch armed police officers to a certain location.

There were no reports of gunshots or injuries at the Ford plant, which builds the F-150 pickup and Transit van.

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Jessica Enoch, Ford spokeswoman, told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, early Wednesday that plant officials immediately contacted law enforcement after being alerted to a potential threat.

"We are thankful there were no injuries," she said. "We are grateful to employees for their cooperation with law enforcement, to UAW leadership for working together with Ford to manage the situation, and to law enforcement officers for their service. Production is resuming this morning."

An estimated 2,500 workers were evacuated, Enoch told the Free Press.

In April, police shot and wounded a man armed with a gun outside the Ford Wayne Stamping Plant in Michigan. The man, not authorized to be on the property, brandished a weapon when asked to show his hands, the City of Wayne Police Department said at the time.

In 2017, a temporary, part-time employee at Ford's Woodhaven Stamping Plant was involved in a dispute before shooting himself, leading to the plant's evacuation and shutdown.

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard on Twitter @phoebesaid.