Three courthouses in downtown Riverside were evacuated today following an anonymous threat that a bomb had been planted in one of the buildings.
“A male caller made threats, saying there was a bomb in a Riverside courthouse,” Riverside County sheriff’s Cpl. Courtney Donowho told City News Service.
“They’re checking all the facilities to make sure they’re safe.”
The call was placed to San Bernardino County sheriff’s dispatch shortly after 8 a.m. According to Donowho, Riverside County authorities were immediately notified and began evacuating the Riverside Historic Courthouse, the Riverside Hall of Justice and the Family Law Court, all of which face one another in a one-block area along Main Street.
Donowho said more than 200 people emptied out of the buildings.
“It took a bit to get everyone evacuated safely and ensure everyone was accounted for,” she said.
Attorneys, courthouse staff and others doing business in the courthouses were moved to locations at least 300 feet away for their safety, according to the sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Members of the sheriff’s Hazardous Devices Team were searching each building and scouring the grounds outside, Donowho said.
It was unknown when the courthouses would reopen.
According to broadcast reports, a man calling from a pay phone in Bloomington told a San Bernardino County sheriff’s dispatcher that a bomb was going to detonate in the county jail. A moment or two later, he called again, saying the same thing about the Riverside court facilities.
Officials in San Bernardino County initiated a search of jails and courthouses there without ordering evacuations.