29 courthouses evacuated after bomb threats - WSMV Channel 4

29 courthouses evacuated after bomb threats

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Twenty-nine courthouses across Tennessee, including the federal building in Memphis, were evacuated Tuesday after each received a bomb threat.

According to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, all of the reported threats were called in by phone.

The federal building in Memphis houses the federal court and offices for the Department of Justice, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. It was cleared around 9 a.m. for a couple of hours while authorities checked it.

Police temporarily blocked a trolley line that ran by the federal building in Memphis and brought in a dog to search the building before letting people return around 11 a.m.

"It just took me by surprise - a man's voice saying, 'is this the courthouse? If so, you're about to be blown up.' It scared me more than anything, of course," said Rebecca Nicholson, Cheatham County clerk's office employee.

No bombs have been found at any of the locations, and a similar bomb threat hoax last week targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon.

Cheatham County Mayor David McCullough said he is pleased the evacuations went smoothly and nothing was found, but he is upset they happened at all.

"If this is a joke, then it's a sick joke," McCullough said.

There are also reports that threats are happening in several other states. WLBT-TV said the courthouse in Jackson, MS, received a bomb threat Tuesday.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security released the following list of 29 Tennessee counties where court clerks received bomb threats Tuesday:

Six Middle Tennessee counties:

  • Bedford
  • Cannon
  • Cheatham
  • Clay
  • Franklin
  • Giles

Nine West Tennessee counties:

  • Benton
  • Carroll
  • Chester
  • Crockett
  • Decatur
  • Gibson
  • Hardeman
  • Hardin
  • Shelby

Fourteen East Tennessee counties:

  • Anderson
  • Bledsoe
  • Blount
  • Bradley
  • Campbell
  • Carter
  • Claiborne
  • Cumberland
  • Fentress
  • Grainger
  • Greene
  • Hamblen
  • Hamilton
  • Hancock

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