Nine state Capitols evacuated or locked down due to bomb threats following a mass hoax email about hidden explosives and a threat of fatalities

Wave of Hoax Bomb Threats Forces Shutdown of State Capitols

Introduction: On January 3, 2024, at least nine state capitols in the United States experienced temporary closures due to a widespread hoax bomb threat.

The threat was disseminated through mass emails, causing panic and leading law enforcement agencies to initiate thorough investigations.

Kentucky: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear reported that the state capitol was evacuated after the Secretary of State’s office received a threatening email.

Lawmakers conducting ethics training in the capitol annex were forced to leave. Fortunately, the state house in Frankfort was reopened around noon.

Georgia: The Georgia State Capitol also faced a temporary closure as a result of the hoax bomb threat.

Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, confirmed the closure and urged people to avoid the area until an all-clear signal was given.

The closure, however, lasted less than an hour, with the Capitol reopening after a thorough search.

Mississippi: In Jackson, Mississippi, the state Capitol experienced a brief closure following reports of ‘suspicious activity,’ later clarified as a bomb threat.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety conducted a thorough search, finding no explosives or suspicious items.

The building was reopened around 11 a.m.

Montana: Montana’s Capitol was temporarily closed after an 8:30 a.m. local time hoax email.

The building was evacuated and thoroughly searched, with Megan Grotzke from the Montana Department of Administration confirming the lack of credibility in the threat.

The Capitol was reopened to the public at 9:57 a.m.

Connecticut: Connecticut’s state house was shut down early in the morning after staffers raised alarm about a threatening email.

The email, sent to multiple states, claimed the placement of explosives in the capitol building.

State Capitol Police, with bomb detection dogs, conducted a sweep and reopened the building after confirming no explosives were present.

Michigan: Michigan’s capitol in Lansing was closed for the entire day following the evacuation prompted by the threatening email.

Law enforcement conducted a thorough search, and despite finding no suspicious items, the decision was made to keep the Capitol closed for the remainder of the day.

Minnesota: Minnesota State Patrol Capitol Security locked down the state Capitol after receiving the threatening email around 9 a.m.

The building underwent a search from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., revealing no threatening items.

Despite the absence of danger, additional police presence was maintained for the rest of the day.

Hawaii: Hawaii became the eighth state to close its capitol after the threatening email was detected at 6:20 a.m.

Police, accompanied by bomb detection dogs, continued to search the building to ensure safety.

Maine: Maine was the last of the nine states to evacuate its capitol, deciding on closure Wednesday afternoon.

Law enforcement is currently conducting a thorough search of the building.

Conclusion: While these nine states took immediate action in response to the hoax bomb threat, at least 23 other states received the same email but chose to disregard it.

The incident underscores the challenges faced by state capitols in handling security threats and the need for coordinated responses to such emergencies.

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