One person was questioned in connection with an alleged bomb threat that prompted the evacuation of three government buildings, including the Franklin County Courthouse Monday morning.
A large law enforcement presence was called to the building, located along South High Street, around 9 a.m. after a woman called police about the alleged threat.
Dozens of people were ordered to leave the courthouse. They were allowed to return a short time later when no bomb-like devices were found in either the common pleas or the municipal courthouse.
Danny Whittier, the director of court security for the municipal court, said that the courthouse should never have been evacuated. He said that he planned to sit down with the sheriff and the county commissioners to make sure an unnecessary evacuation did not happen again.
“We’re not going to evacuate this building on a prank phone call,” Whittier said.
An evacuation alarm was sounded at the common pleas courthouse, owned by the county. Next door, the city-funded municipal court was evacuated by a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy.
“You have a deputy telling everyone to evacuate, and you have a Columbus police officer telling everyone to stay put? A lack of communication between the county and the city,” Whittier said.
Whittier said that it was the first time in his eight years at the courthouse that the building had been evacuated by someone who did not have the jurisdiction.
Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said that the man who investigators questioned provided investigators with information about who he thought called in the threat.
Scott said that it was possible the threat was a result of a domestic situation.
No charges have been filed, though Scott said that charges could include inducing panic.
Bridget Crestsinger said that she witnessed the commotion.
"They said a bomb threat, they said leave, and we won't be punished, and we can come back tomorrow," Crestsinger said.
Judge Charles Schneider said that the bomb threat was a great disruption to court.
"It causes a great deal of disruption, especially on a Monday, you have all the jurors that are coming in, you have trials that start during the beginning of the week, all of those get disrupted," Schneider said.
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