FAIRFIELD — A phoned-in bomb threat forced the evacuation Thursday of the Solano County Courthouse in Vallejo.
Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Snedeker said a Vallejo city employee received a phone call around 1:50 p.m., claiming that a bomb in the courthouse was set to go off in the afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office received a similar call at 1:52 p.m.
“The courthouse was evacuated at that point,” Snedeker said.
Fairfield resident Craig Giovannetti was at the courthouse for jury duty when the threat came about.
“I was there all day from 8 a.m., they finally let us go at like 3:15 p.m.,” Giovannetti said. “We were all in the courtroom and the judge was interviewing the jurors.”
That’s when a deputy approached the judge.
“Around 2:25 or 2:30 (p.m.) a deputy walked up to the judge, tapped her on the shoulder and told her that there was a bomb scare,” Giovannetti said. “The judge just said, ‘The barrister just told me there was a bomb threat.’ We just exited and gathered in a parking lot across the street from the courthouse.”
Giovannetti said there was no panic as the courthouse cleared.
The courthouse was particularly crowded because of the number of trials that were taking place. Deputies spent the afternoon searching the building, but no bomb was found.
“We did a human search with deputies and we found nothing in the courthouse or the parking lot,” Snedeker said. “However, in a separate lot south of the courthouse, a suspicious package was found.”
Snedeker described the package as a blue satchel, about 12 inches by 6 inches.
“That was deemed to be suspicious,” Snedeker said. “The area was cordoned off and court did not return to session. By that time it was about 4 p.m.”
Court closes at 4:15 p.m.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team at Travis Air Force Base came out with two K-9 units. Snedeker said the Napa County EOD also responded with two technicians.
Crews used a robot to X-ray the package, Snedeker said. The contents included an old first aid kit with other items, including a handgun that was rusty and was not operational.
The last officers cleared the scene late Thursday evening. Snedeker said court will resume Friday.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.