Authorities found no evidence of a bomb Tuesday during a two-hour search of the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center after an unidentified suspect called in a threat at about 8:30 a.m.
Sheriff Robert Arnold (right) and Judge Donna Scott-Davenport speak with the press Dec. 18, 2012, after an unidentified suspect threatened to blow up the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/M. Kemph)
The suspect told an employee of the Rutherford County Court Clerk’s Office a bomb had been placed inside the building but hung up the phone when pressed for more details.
Judge Donna Scott Davenport, who oversees the Juvenile Detention Center, ordered an evacuation of the building in response to the bomb threat, which was received prior to the start of court proceedings.
Dozens of employees and 22 juveniles were evacuated to the nearby Rutherford County Correctional Work Center, where they were kept separate from adult inmates throughout the ordeal.
“Our main concern was whether any of the juveniles could still be a target, if they had been targeted,” Davenport said, adding deputies with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office used shields to protect the juveniles while they were being loaded into three vans to be sent to the workhouse.
“They were taken to a safe place for their protection,” she said.
Law enforcement officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Murfreesboro Police Department also responded to the scene within a few minutes of the threat to help with the search and investigation, which is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office.
“We notified other agencies and combined resources to conduct a sweep of the building and surrounding area,” Sheriff Robert Arnold said, adding members of the Rutherford County Special Operations Response Team and multiple K-9 units cleared the building during a thorough search.
“It went as smooth as it possibly could,” he said. “This is now an ongoing investigation. We have obtained some information related to the call, and we will continue following up on leads in the case.”
Although the Juvenile Detention Center resumed normal operations Tuesday afternoon, the incident did result in a few cases being temporarily postponed.
“No one is going to prevent us from taking care of business and having court,” Davenport said. “We will have to regroup and get (court cases) rescheduled.”
Noting that several cases did involve custody issues regarding the holidays, she said everyone at the Juvenile Detention Center is working to ensure those matters are resolved before Christmas Day.
“We deal with serious issues on a daily basis,” she said. “Parents need some closure before the holidays, especially for those involving custody issues. If we need to stay late this week, we will.”