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Bomb threat and suspicious powder disrupt Regional Justice Center in Kent

Post by News Tribune Staff on Oct. 1, 2008 at 8:05 pm with No Comments »
October 1, 2008 8:05 pm

A bomb threat this morning and the discovery of a letter containing white powder this afternoon disrupted activity at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, the King County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The building was closed from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., while it was searched with bomb dogs.

Then, about 2:30 p.m., a clerk opened an envelope containing a white powder that later turned out to be a dietary supplement.

It’s not yet clear if the two threats are related.

Read the full press release after the jump.

Multiple area fire and police agencies were involved in two separate threats to today’s activities at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center (RJC) in the city of Kent.

At about 9:30 AM, several phone calls were made from an unknown person indicating that there was a bomb at the RJC, located at 401 4th N. Sheriff’s deputies responded, along with Kent Police and Fire Departments. Several hundred people were evacuated from the building and the connected county jail facility was put on lock-down. Bomb dogs from the Sheriff’s Office, Port of Seattle, and U.S. Customs searched the building and did not find anything. The building was re-opened at about 11:00 AM. Located inside the building are King County Superior Courts and judges, along with personnel from the King County Sheriff’s Office and King County Prosecutor’s Office. Kent Police Department is the primary investigation agency for this threat.

At about 2:30 PM, county mail clerks opened up an envelope that was mailed to the RJC (no specific person listed) and found a white-powder substance inside. Sheriff’s deputies again responded and a unified command was established with Kent Fire Department, Tukwila Fire Department, Boeing Fire Department, King County Jail, and U.S. Postal Inspectors. A total of eight people inside the building and in close proximity to the substance were isolated in an office. None of these people showed any medical symptoms of contamination. It was not believed that this substance posed an inhalation hazard and the rest of the building was not evacuated. The buildings air circulation system was shut-down as a precaution. At about 4:15 PM, a Hazardous Materials Team entered the building and retrieved the suspicious substance. Tests of the material determined that it was a non-hazardous dietary supplement. The effected people inside were allowed to leave at about 5:30 PM. The U.S. Postal Inspectors will be the primary investigation for this threat. It has not yet been determined if the two threats are related.

Deputy Travis DeFries

Acting PIO

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