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Bomb threat closes courthouse

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By Susan Sharp

Just before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, a bomb threat was called into the Campbell County Court Clerk’s office.

“They (the office staff) was told there was an explosive device in the courthouse,” said Campbell County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Aaron Evans.

“At that time we made the decision to begin the evacuation process,” said Sheriff Robbie Goins.

Moving through the floors of the courthouse, officers cleared the building. They also made calls to area bomb squads for a sweep to be performed. However, finding a squad proved to be difficult.

Campbell County was one of 30 counties that received a bomb threat as the lunch hour approached. Calls of bombs being placed in courthouses were received statewide, according to Dayla Qualls, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Counties such as Anderson and Knox were among 14 in East Tennessee that received a threatening call.

“We were able to have Roane County come here with its dogs,” Evans said.

“The team from Roane County performed a complete sweep of the courthouse. There was nothing found,” said Goins.

There were no explosives found at any of the locations.

However, the call that prompted the evacuation also led to a three hour closure of the Campbell County courthouse.

The building was reopened at 2 p.m.

“We plan to follow some leads,” Evans said. This process will start with a subpoena for the phone records of the service provider of the caller.

“The call came from a blocked number,” Goins said.