Greene County

Courthouses across state evacuated after mass bomb threat

GREENE COUNTY. Tenn. - Dozens of courthouses and other buildings across Tennessee were evacuated Tuesday after a rash of bomb threats were made.

Most of the 29 buildings affected were courthouses.

Here are the latest facts: the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security says nine threats were reported in west Tennessee counties, six in middle Tennessee and 14 in east Tennessee.

News 5 was at the Greene County Courthouse just moments before the building was evacuated. Witnesses in the courtroom tell us they were told to take a break and get out of the building.

Jeremy Clementi was at the Greene County courthouse Tuesday morning for a hearing, when it was suddenly postponed. "We were sitting there getting ready to get started, and one of the officers came in and said something to the judge. They told us to go on break until 12," said Clementi.

Attorney Christopher Seaton had just started his case when everyone was told to leave. "The chief of security came in, interrupted everything, leaned into the judge and said 'everyone needs to go to lunch now,'" said Seaton.

Police say they got a suspicious call about possibly some type of bomb or explosive around the property.

The Carter County courthouse got a similar call. Captain Joy Markland with the Elizabethton Police said, "Most of the employees had already begun the evacuation process. For safety measures, officers went around the property to ensure parameter and get everyone out of the area, do a safety sweep that everyone was out of the building."

They brought in bomb dogs, as well as the local police and fire departments and THP and TBI agents.

Markland says area agencies are sharing information and looking for a link. "At this time, it would be speculation to assume that all these are related, but the information is indicating it could be correlated to other threats throughout the region," said Markland.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, all of the buildings affected have been cleared and no bombs have been found.

There are also reports of bomb threats in other states as well.

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