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He Allegedly Entered an Abortion Clinic With a Backpack. What Security Officers Found Inside Led Them to Evacuate and Call 911.

"We’re not taking any chances."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

WICHITA, Kan. (TheBlaze/AP) -- Police say a man is in custody after he brought knives and a small improvised explosive device into a women's health care clinic that provides abortions in south-central Kansas.

Wichita Police Department spokesman Doug Nolte said that officers responded to the South Wind Women's Center around 3:30 p.m. on Monday after the man entered the building and was asked if he had anything dangerous on him; he reportedly responded that he had knives and an explosive device, KAKE-TV reported.

Nolte said that on-site security inspected a backpack the man brought in and subsequently found knives and the device, leading clinic staff to evacuate the building, and a bomb squad to head to the scene to remove the backpack. No injuries were reported.

"As it turns out, there is a small device that is suspicious in nature. We’re not taking any chances," Nolte told KSN-TV on Monday. "We called our EOD unit out to take a look at the package, take it and work with it from that end. We’re taking everything very cautiously."

He added, "It is illegal to create your own improvised explosive device."

Nolte says police are investigating whether the man intended to harm the clinic. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating.

Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of the South Wind Women’s Center, released a statement on Monday evening, stating that the "safety and security of ... staff and patients" is her clinic's "highest concern."

"Today, our staff and local law enforcement handled a threat to the safety of our patients and staff promptly and effectively.  The systems that we have in place to protect our patients and staff worked," Burkhart said. "I applaud Wichita Police Department for their prompt action today."

The clinic is one of three in Kansas that provide abortions. It opened in 2013 in the same building where Dr. George Tiller provided abortions before he was gunned down in 2009.

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