Bomb threats lead to brief lockdowns and the evacuation of multiple state capitols

Multiple state capitols received bomb threats Wednesday morning that led to brief evacuations or lockdowns as police investigated, but no evidence of explosives was found.

The warnings came after a spate of false reports of shootings at the homes of public officials in recent days.

Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Montana were among the states that evacuated statehouse offices or buildings. Lawmakers in Kentucky and Mississippi have begun meeting in legislative sessions.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on X, formerly Twitter, that the Capitol was evacuated while state police investigated a threat received by the Secretary of State’s Office. He said everyone was safe and officials were aware of similar threats made to other offices across the country. The threat was received as Kentucky lawmakers were meeting in the Capitol annex for ethics training.

Public safety officials locked down the Mississippi Capitol Wednesday morning following a bomb threat on the second day of the legislative session. The state Senate delayed its morning meeting after the building was evacuated and bomb-sniffing dogs circled the building before an all-clear was given.

“This is an ongoing investigation and there is no further threat to the Capitol or surrounding buildings,” said Bailey Martin, a spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The closures were brief in most states.

Montana’s Capitol building reopened within two hours after a sweep of the building was completed and the threat was found not to be credible, said Megan Grotzke, spokesperson for the Department of Administration.

Other states received a threat, but didn’t close. A “mass email” was sent to “several state entities” in Wyoming but was determined not to be a security threat and no offices were closed, Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Kyle McKay said.

Several public officials have been hit by “swatting” calls in recent days. Swatting is a prank call made to emergency services intended to bring a police response.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, for example, was targeted by a fake emergency call on Christmas morning. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, meanwhile, was hit by a “swatting” attempt a day after she removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause, a decision Trump is appealing.

Other public officials targeted in recent days include Republican U.S. Rep. Brandon Williams of New York, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Hundreds of swatting cases occur annually.

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