Numerous state capital buildings evacuated Wednesday after bomb threats

 January 4, 2024

The state capital buildings of Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and several other states were evacuated Wednesday morning after bomb threats in each location. 

Michigan closed its capital for the day "out of an abundance of caution," while Georgia delayed the opening of its capital building until the threat was cleared.

"There have been multiple bomb threats to state capitols around the nation," top Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling wrote on X about the threats. "So far Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan & Montana. Do not jump to conclusions as to who is responsible. There will be chaos agents sowing discord for 2024. They want to increase tensions. Don't let them."

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) confirmed the threat on Twitter and said authorities were investigating.

Threats made by email

CNN reported that the threats were made via mass emails sent to 23 states. The emails said explosives were placed in “your state Capitol,” without specifying any particular state.

Despite being a mass email, states reported getting the email at different times ranging from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

It was not clear whether all states that received the email evacuated their capital buildings or why some seemed to take it more seriously than others.

Both Democrat-run and Republican-run states were targeted, so no political motive is clear for the threats.

FBI notified

The FBI was notified about the threats, which is standard procedure in such situations.

It told NPR it was "aware of the numerous hoax incidents wherein a bomb threat at a state Capitol building is made."

The statement also said,

The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.

Federal officials have said that the number of threats to public officials has surged in recent years.

"Zero tolerance"

The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections condemned the threats, even though they had no established connection to elections, NBC News reported.

"There is ZERO tolerance for such threats this election year. Zero," the group wrote on X. "Election officials and legislators alike cannot be intimidated for doing their jobs."

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