More than 20 bomb threats reported at Tennessee courthouses

More than 20 bomb threats reported at Tennessee county courthouses

Posted: Updated:
Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins said nothing unusual was found in the courthouse in Jacksboro, but the building would remain closed until 2 p.m. as a precaution. Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins said nothing unusual was found in the courthouse in Jacksboro, but the building would remain closed until 2 p.m. as a precaution.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Multiple county courthouses across Tennessee were evacuated Tuesday for bomb threats.

Emergency workers confirmed bomb threats reported in at 30 counties, including the old Knox County and old Blount County courthouses, as well as courthouses in Anderson, Campbell, Carter, Cheatham, Cumberland, Fentress, Greene, Hamblen, and Hancock counties.

Personnel were evacuated at most of the buildings because of the threats.

The Knox County Clerk's office said they received three calls. In one, the caller said "There's an atomic bomb in your building" and then hung up.

Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson Dalya J. Qualls said troopers are assisting local law enforcement agencies as needed.

THP said no devices have been found.

All of the calls were made to clerk's offices. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) said the calls began around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday and continued until about 1:00 p.m.

By Tuesday evening, emergency workers had searched and cleared all of the buildings.

TEMA said they were not involved in the investigation, but would provide assistance if a bomb was found at any of the locations.

The Knox County bomb squad responded to Blount and Campbell Counties to assist with threats there.

In Blount County, the courthouse was evacuated. All 175 occupants had to leave and the juvenile detention facility had to be cleared as well.

"We immediately brought in officers and set the perimeter up and the mayor had the courthouse evacuated and got everyone out with officers. We then had a Knox County bomb dog and a Pigeon Forge dog come in and help clear the building," said Blount County Sheriff James Berrong.

Sheriff Berrong said the individuals who called in the threat could face a variety of charges, including filing a false report.

In Campbell County, Sheriff Robbie Goins said nothing unusual was found in the courthouse in Jacksboro, but kept the building closed until 2:00 p.m. as a precaution.

Similar bomb threats have been reported across the United States in recent weeks.

Five days ago, 28 bomb threats were reported across the state of Oregon. Before that, multiple bomb threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington.

The Knox County Sheriff's Department was one of the few agencies that did not evacuate the courthouse.

Spokeswoman Martha Dooley said that after receiving the threat, an assessment was made and they determined an evacuation was not necessary. She did not release any further details, citing security reasons.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's office said they were not notified about the threat and actually found out about the threat through WATE.com.

They've asked the Public Building Authority to notify them in the future.

The following counties received threats on Tuesday:

East Tennessee: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, and Bradley counties.

Middle Tennessee: Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Franklin, and Giles counties

West Tennessee: Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Shelby, and Chester counties.

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