Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 28, 2013

Bomb threat

TAHLEQUAH — Investigators with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies questioned several “suspects” Wednesday afternoon when a bomb threat was made to the Cherokee County Courthouse, but no arrests were made.

More than 200 people were evacuated from the courthouse Wednesday morning just before 9 when the threat was called in. Within a few hours, investigators had cleared the building and said they found no threat. The courthouse reopened at 1 p.m.

The caller phoned the Cherokee County Clerk’s Office, on the second floor of the courthouse, and spoke to Deputy Clerk Laura Hendricks. The county clerk’s office frequently receives calls meant for the court clerk’s office, which is on the third floor and handles many court-related matters. Police initially believed the suspect might have intended to call the court clerk’s office, but instead called the county clerk.

Hendricks fielded the call, and the man told her he was “tired of paying my f---ing fines,” then claimed there was a bomb in the courthouse.

“We had just started working when we received the phone call,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks notified a safety manager about the threat, and a “panic button” in the courthouse was pushed to alert other offices in the three-story building. Personnel with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Tahlequah Police Department, District 27 District Attorney’s Office, Tahlequah-Cherokee County Emergency Management, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Tahlequah Fire Department responded and evacuated the building.

Tahlequah-Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Gary Dotson and Tahlequah Police Department Public Information Officer Brad Robertson both said it appeared the evacuation process was smooth, even with the large number of people who were inside the courthouse. Closure of the building disrupted scheduled court proceedings and other matters.

The First United Methodist Church facility, across from the courthouse, opened its doors to provide heat to those who were evacuated.

Investigators began looking through the facility and contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad, which was dispatched immediately from Tulsa and helped conduct a secondary search inside and outside of the building when they arrived.

At about 11 a.m., authorities announced they had not found a bomb.

The fire department left the scene shortly after the announcement, and roads around the facility – which had been closed since about 9 a.m. – were reopened.

Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said three suspects were detained Wednesday afternoon and were interviewed about the incident, but all were eventually released from custody.

Authorities were also trying to trace the phone call that was used in making the threat.

“We don’t think there’s anything here to be alarmed by,” said Chennault. “More than likely, it was just someone disgruntled with the court system, and they thought they could get away with doing this and get out of the court case.”

Chennault said it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office what charges the culprits could face, but making terroristic threats could be one charge.

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing, and they hope the person responsible for making the threat is ultimately dealt with “harshly.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks