Tennessee Emergency Management Agency officials said 30 courthouses and government buildings in the state received what they think was a threat which was automatically generated.
According to Dean Flener of TEMA’s information office, nine West Tennessee counties, seven Middle Tennessee counties and 14 East Tennessee county courthouses were affected.
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, according to Associated Press reports.
Bradley County Courthouse was evacuated after Tuesday’s threat was received.
According to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to aid court officers with the evacuation.
Jerry Johnson Jr. of Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency said the evacuation and subsequent sweep of the courthouse went smoothly. Nothing was found during preliminary stages of the investigation.
“We learned a number of other courthouses across the state had received similar threats as well,” said Gault after he spoke with interim Bradley County Fire Chief Troy Spence, who is also the CBCEMA director.
Flener said Shelby, Anderson, Clay, Cumberland, Bledsoe and other counties, as well as the city of Memphis, had all been cleared as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, and no threat of explosives was found at any of the courthouses.
Flener could not comment on which agency would be continuing the investigation (other than local law enforcement) into the statewide nature of the threats.
The complete list of counties affected include Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Shelby, Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Franklin, Giles, Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton and Hancock, according to information from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.