VIDEO: NCCo Courthouse reopens after bomb hoax
The New Castle County Courthouse reopens several hours after an evacuation due to an unfounded bomb threat.
WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.
The call for the bomb threat came in around lunchtime when longtime News Journal court reporter Sean O'Sullivan says he was sitting at his desk.
"Suddenly, the claxons went off and the strobe lights for the fire system, a recorded voice came on telling people to get out of the building," says O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan had been through this before, just two weeks ago when a gunman fatally shot two people and took his own life. This time, he grabbed his belongings, knowing he might not be allowed back in for awhile.
"The bailiffs and courthouse security then started to go herd people from rooms and elevators down the hallway and out the front door," says O'Sullivan.
People were forced out into the cold, many without their coats, and they weren't allowed to wait out front either. They were pushed as far back as Market Street with some people taking refuge in the World Cafe Live at the Queen. Police shouted "Get back," at anyone who dared to walk on the sidewalk of King Street.
O'Sullivan says people were confused, but no one panicked.
"It was very orderly and people moved quietly, and a lot of people wanted to know what was going on, but nobody knew anything at that point," O'Sullivan says.
Bomb sniffing dogs swept the building and found no evidence of any explosives, and O'Sullivan, who has worked there for decades, says security now is tighter than ever.
"The courthouse shooting made things different, and it's a different response than in the past.
Just two weeks ago, the New Castle County Courthouse was evacuated after a gunman fatally shot two women and took his own life.
Copyright © Apr 23, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced permission from Delmarva Broadcasting Company required for publication or rebroadcast.