Fireside disrupted with threat of bomb

A BYU 19-stake fireside address by President Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve came to an abrupt halt for about 10 minutes Feb. 7 when a man walked up to the podium threatening to detonate a bomb.

President Hunter was just beginning his address on adversity to 17,000 people in the Marriott Center when the 27-year-old man came out of the audience and walked onto the stand, carrying a briefcase and a toy cellular phone wrapped in black tape.He approached President Hunter and told others sitting on the stand to clear the area, saying he had a bomb and detonator. Everyone moved off the stand, except for two Church security officers who refused to leave President Hunter's side. President Hunter appeared calm and never responded to the man. When the incident was over, President Hunter continued his address without appearing shaken.

The man handed a letter to President Hunter to read, but he refused to read it, said Margaret Smoot, director of BYU Public Communications. She said the letter reportedly called for the release of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, and stated the man was to be the prophet of the Church.

About the same time, the congregation began to sing "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," which seemed to distract the man, BYU officials said.

In a quick turn of events, an older man from the audience tried to distract the assailant but was shoved down. A student from the front row then sprayed the intruder with mace.

The two security officers were able to apprehend the assailant and pull him off the stage. About 40 to 50 students then converged on the man. He was handcuffed by university police and arrested.

President Hunter was brought to the floor by security guards, but was not injured.

Police opened the briefcase only to find books and a radio. As a precaution, a police bomb squad blew up the briefcase.

Cody Judy of Bakersfield, Calif., appeared in 4th Circuit Court Feb. 9 on charges of kidnapping, a second degree felony; aggravated assault, a third degree felony; and assault, a Class B misdemeanor. Prosecutors also requested a 30-day psychiatric evaluation. Bail was set at $100,000.

Police said the man was the same person who a week earlier had left guns and ammunition inside Temple Square late at night as a "gift" to the prophet.

The fireside was being broadcast to college institutes throughout North America over the Church's satellite network but was stopped during the incident.

Following the arrest, President Hunter continued his talk, telling the audience, "I want to tell you how good your voices sound."

He was speaking on campus as part of the BYU Book of Mormon Symposium, which concluded Feb. 7 with his address.

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