LOS ANGELES (CN) - LA officials admitted Tuesday that a bomb threat against LA schools was no longer credible - a conclusion officials in New York quickly arrived at after receiving a similar emailed threat.
At a 5:30 p.m. press conference Tuesday at Los Angeles Unified School district headquarters downtown, Mayor Eric Garcetti declined to label the email as a "hoax." He noted that while the FBI had concluded that there was no credible threat, it "does not conclusively mean it's one thing or another yet."
"What we do know is that it will be safe for children to return to school tomorrow," Garcetti said, noting that the city had been on high alert because of the mass shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 and injured 22 on Dec. 2.
"I know there's been a lot of back and forth between cities and stuff," Garcetti said in reference to New York's response to the threat, but added that the East Coast city had received the information much later than Los Angeles and was "already able to put together pieces" of information to conclude the threat was not credible.
School district president Steve Zimmer told reporters that more than 1,000 school sites had been walked through and inspected and said that schools would reopen on Wednesday.
"There will always be a temptation after a day like today to increase the blame, anger, vitriol and the suspicion. But what we saw today across Los Angeles was a community turning toward each other, not against each other," Zimmer said.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck confirmed that the email was sent from a server in Germany but could have originated closer to the United States.
Though the email sent to New York officials came from the same overseas server the email was not identical, Beck said. He noted that the LAPD had already served subpoenas and the investigation was ongoing.
Beck said also supported Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines' decision to close schools, although he stressed that he had not made the decision. He said he had asked parents if they would have opened the schools if they were faced with the same information that Cortines had possessed.
"Every parent I have asked said, 'No, of course not,'" Beck said.
In a written statement, Cortines said the decision to close the schools for the first time in decades was "not made lightly."
"It disrupted the lives of our students, our employees and their families," Cortines said. "Based on recent events, I took precaution out of an abundance of caution and to ensure safety and security in our schools."
Tuesday morning, Garcetti, Beck and LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell all voiced their support for Cortines' decision to close the schools at a press conference at district headquarters.
By early afternoon, however, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat representing Los Angeles, confirmed that it appeared the threat was a hoax.
"The investigation into LAUSD threat is still ongoing," Schiff said in a statement. "Preliminary assessment is it was a hoax to disrupt school districts in large cities."
Officials scrambled to defend their decision to shut down the second-largest school district in the nation and keep nearly 700,000 students at home, after receiving a threat that was emailed from an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany.