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People evacuate the Morgan County Courthouse after a bomb threat was made.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
People evacuate the Morgan County Courthouse after a bomb threat was made.

Courthouse gets false bomb threat

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com · 340-2437

Officials and employees returning from lunch Thursday afternoon were turned back from the Morgan County Courthouse after someone made a bomb threat.

Authorities cleared the courthouse of others who were inside.

Howard Battles, chief of investigations for the Sheriff’s Department, said the caller gave a specific time for explosion.

“It was called in to the courthouse, and they indicated that if anything would happen it would be around 2 p.m.,” said Battles. “So, we evacuated the building.”

Nothing happened.

Evacuation

Crowds gathered in courthouse parking lots. Some were there for court, others for business in various offices. Employees followed the courthouse evacuation plan and were in strategic places nearby.

Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott said Thursday’s threat seemed more serious.

“Usually we have the switchboard operator come over the intercom announcing evacuation,” Scott said. “Today, security guards went from office to office telling us to get out immediately. It seemed to be more urgent this time.”

Scott said someone eventually announced evacuation over the intercom.

County Commission Chairman John Glasscock was not at work Thursday, and Chairman Pro Tem Jeff Clark handled the situation.

He said County Administrator Syble Atkins informed him about the threat.

“After she called me, I called the sheriff and he had the courthouse evacuated,” Clark said. “Decatur city police were involved also. They checked the building and didn’t find anything, so they let everybody go back in.”

Atkins said someone made the call to Circuit Clerk John Pat Orr’s office and the caller is unknown.

Orr said the caller was a male and that caller ID showed he called from a pay phone.

“He told one the clerks that he didn’t have anything against anybody at the courthouse, but he was going to blow it up,” Orr said.

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