Roebling Suspension Bridge reopens after bomb threat closes it for hours

A bomb threat shut down the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River between...
A bomb threat shut down the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River between northern Kentucky and Cincinnati early Wednesday for hours early Wednesday, Covington police say (view from Covington side of the bridge)(WXIX)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:43 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 9:16 AM CDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - A bomb threat that shut down one of the major bridges over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for hours early Wednesday was not credible and the FBI in Louisville is taking over the investigation, Covington police say.

This all began with an anonymous phone call to 911 just before 5:30 a.m.

A man threatened to put pipe bombs on the John A. Roebling Bridge, demanded $400,000 and warned that “if he doesn’t get it he will kill everybody,” dispatchers confirmed.

As police responded to the bridge, dispatchers advised the caller threatened to shoot police if they pointed guns at him.

Just after the threat was reported, Covington police and Kenton County dispatchers asked Cincinnati police to respond and “to expedite it.”

Police cruisers on both sides of the Ohio River in Covington and Cincinnati blocked off their entrances to the bridge.

As a precaution, some Covington businesses near the bridge at Court Avenue and Park Place also were evacuated and the U.S. Coast Guard closed all river traffic under the bridge and in the area.

Bomb threat shuts down Roebling Bridge

Kenton County police and Kenton County EMA also responded and were on scene.

Meanwhile, police agencies in Campbell County rushed to check Ohio River bridges in their communities including the Interstate 471/Daniel Beard Bridge and Purple People Bridge in Newport and the Combs-Hehl Bridge along I-275, according to Campbell County dispatchers.

After the bridge was thoroughly checked and no devices were found, the all-clear was given around 8:45 a.m. with traffic resuming shortly after.

Cincinnati police spokesman Sgt. Anthony Mitchell said CPD was only involved to assist Kentucky authorities by blocking the bridge entrance Downtown.

The rest of the response, he said, is all Kentucky and referred our questions back to them.

No arrests were made, Covington and Cincinnati police say.

Earlier, shortly after the threat was made, Cincinnati police stopped to talk to a man on a bike with at least one backpack who just happened to be in the area of the bridge on the Ohio side, according to emergency communication reports.

Sgt. Mitchell had no information about that but said Cincinnati police didn’t take anyone into custody.

Here is the full news release from Covington police spokesman Lt. Justin Bradbury:

This morning at around 5:23 a.m. Kenton County Dispatch received a bomb threat from an unknown person. The person specifically threatened the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.

Covington Police and Fire responded to the scene and closed the bridge. The bridge was thoroughly checked. There were no injuries, no devices were located, and the bridge has since reopened. No one has been arrested in connection with this incident.

The investigation has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisville Office. We are directing all inquiries to their Public Affairs Agent at 502-263-6000. If you have any information regarding this incident, please call Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

An F.B.I. spokesperson released this statement Wednesday:

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