24 Tenn. courthouses receive bomb threats
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Bomb threats forced the evacuation of 24 courthouses across Tennessee Tuesday morning, including the federal building in Memphis, but authorities who are investigating said no devices were found.
Tennessee became the fourth state to deal with similar bomb hoaxes. One targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington this month.
Seven threats were in West Tennessee, four in Middle Tennessee and 13 in East Tennessee, said state Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt. No bombs have been found.
Dalya Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said no arrests have been made and the agency is assisting local law enforcement to investigate.
Heidt said the threats were made by telephone to court clerk offices. "It's been going on all morning," said Heidt.
The federal building in Memphis houses the federal court and offices for the Department of Justice, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. It was cleared around 9 a.m. for a couple of hours while authorities checked it.
Police temporarily blocked a trolley line that ran by the federal building in Memphis and brought in a dog to search the building before letting people return around 11 a.m.
The West Tennessee counties that received threats were Carroll, Crockett, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, Chester and Shelby. The Middle Tennessee counties affected were Cheatham, Clay, Franklin and Giles. The East Tennessee counties that received threats were Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton and Hancock.