A man was walking to his car that was parked on Bull Street, just past the entrance to USC, when he found a strange bag. The man then called Columbia police.
About seven squad cars blocked the intersection of Bull and Pendleton Streets shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday so they could inspect the suspicious bag. The man who found the bag asked not to be identified.
First-year international studies student Gabriel Boyer said he was also walking to his car when he saw all the flashing lights.
"I asked the guy over there, and he said it was an IED so I was like, 'Oh, wow, that's pretty intense,'" Boyer said, "so here I am, watching it unfold."
As more people began to speculate whether the package — which was visible in the middle of Bull Street — was explosive, police kept the scene blocked off. They allowed people to retrieve their cars from the Pendleton Street parking garage as long as they exited onto Pendleton Street instead of Bull.
Officers kept a calm demeanor as they inspected the scene and the package. Suspicions began to die down as people's primary concern became their cars.
"I'll get my buddy to come pick me up, but hopefully they don't give me a ticket," said Alex Carson, a second-year civil engineering student who was parked on Bull Street.
After about a half hour, officers confirmed the bag was not an explosive or otherwise dangerous object, and they began to clear the intersections.