A former volunteer Columbia firefighter has been sentenced to a year in prison for a fake bomb threat at a veterans hospital.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said 21-year-old Karry Taylor III admitted creating the hoax so other fire stations would respond to the Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center hospital in January 2016, thus freeing up his own station to respond to any other calls which occurred at the time. He pleaded guilty in January.
Taylor was sentenced to a year in prison, three years of supervised release and must also repay nearly $1,500 to local fire and police teams for the cost of responding.
Federal investigators said in January 2016, three people received a text message that said, “Hey Montana, this is Sosa. Omar said he put a bomb in the parking lot or something…in the VA hospital on Garners Ferry Road. I am scared and I don’t know what to do.” Those individuals contacted law enforcement.
Columbia Police, Columbia Fire Department, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Police Department placed the hospital in lockdown, and swept the parking area for explosives. After determining the texts were a hoax, the FBI eventually linked the texts back to a cell phone and email account belonging to Taylor. Prosecutors said Taylor admitted after agents confronted him that he had sent the texts to random numbers in an effort to draw other fire engines to the Dorn VA Medical Center. Taylor indicated he hoped his own station would then be called to respond to any other calls that occurred during that time frame, according to prosecutors.