30 Tenn. courthouses evacuated amid threats

30 Tenn. courthouses evacuated amid threats (Image 1)

Authorities say the number of Tennessee courthouses involved in a rash of false bomb threats has risen to 30 on Tuesday afternoon.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said they were first notified of the threats around 10:15 a.m.  All the courthouses received threatening phone calls.

The Cheatham County Courthouse in Ashland City, the Bedford County Courthouse in Shelbyville and the Franklin County Courthouse in Winchester were among those evacuated in Middle Tennessee, as well as courthouses in Cannon, Clay Giles and Grundy counties.

“As soon as we heard about we took it very seriously. We immediately followed protocol to get people out and we made sure that we went around the facility to look for anything suspicious,” said Mayor David McCullough.

Clerk office worker Rebecca Nicholson told Nashville's News 2 she answered the threatening phone call at the Cheatham County Courthouse.

“Like anybody else would, I answered the phone and a gentleman said, ‘Is this the courthouse, if so, you are about to be blown up.' I said, I'm sorry and I asked him to repeat himself and that is when he hung up on me,” she recalled.

In east Tennessee 14 courthouses were evacuated including, the courthouses in Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton and Hancock counties.

The federal building in Memphis that houses the federal court and other federal offices was evacuated around 9 a.m.

Eight additional courthouses in west Tennessee were also evacuated including Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman and Hardin counties.

The Davidson, Rutherford, Wilson and Williamson county courthouses had not received threats and had not been evacuated as of 4 p.m.

Officials said TEMA is working in conjunction with the Tennessee Highway Patrol as the investigation progresses.

No bombs had been found at any of the locations.

A similar bomb threat hoax last week targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon.

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