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Several state Capitols evacuated after bomb threats

The state Capitol complexes in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Maine and Michigan were evacuated Wednesday after bomb threats were made, officials said.
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At least six state capitol complexes across the U.S. were forced to evacuate Wednesday morning because of bomb threats, officials said.

In Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, an elections official with the secretary of state's office, wrote on X around 8:30 a.m. ET that there had been a bomb threat at the Georgia State Capitol, causing a delayed opening. About 20 minutes later, he tweeted that the complex had reopened after law enforcement officials investigated. An official with the Georgia State Patrol didn’t immediately respond to questions.

In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear wrote on X around 10:30 a.m. ET that state police had evacuated the state Capitol and were investigating a “threat received by the Secretary of State’s Office.”

State police officials didn’t immediately respond to questions.

A spokesperson for Michigan State Police confirmed that there had been a bomb threat to the state Capitol on Wednesday morning.

"In response to a threat made involving the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing, we can confirm a threat was emailed to a general account for the Michigan State Capitol Commission around 7:45 a.m. today, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024," spokesperson Lori Dougovito said.

"We are aware of similar threats sent to government agencies across the country," Dougovito said, adding that the Capitol was evacuated and that the building was searched.

The situation remains under investigation, and the building "will remain closed for the rest of the day," she said.

In Mississippi, an official with the Department of Public Safety said the state Capitol had "successfully been cleared" after a bomb threat was made.

"The building was thoroughly searched, and no explosives or suspicious equipment were found," the spokesperson, Bailey Martin, said in a statement. "There is no further threat to the Capitol or surrounding buildings."

In Montana, Jay Nelson, a spokesman for the state Highway Patrol, confirmed that officials received a bomb threat targeting the State Capitol at 8:30 a.m. local time Wednesday.

Troopers evacuated and swept the building, Nelson said, and it later reopened.

In Maine, a bomb threat to the state House was received by email, prompting an evacuation of the complex, said Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the state Public Safety Department.

In Minnesota, a spokesperson with the State Patrol said law enforcement officials pre-emptively investigated their own Capitol amid the deluge of threats in other states.

"The Minnesota State Patrol Capitol Security team was made aware at 9 a.m. Wednesday of a bomb threat received via email at multiple state capitols nationwide. In response, the Minnesota State Capitol building was locked while Capitol Security — including troopers, security officers and our explosives detecting K-9 — conducted multiple searches from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. No suspicious or threatening items were found," said the spokesperson, Jill Frankfurth.

"As a precaution, Capitol Security will have an increased presence in the building for the remainder of the day," Frankfurth added.

Several local reports indicated that similar threats were made at the Connecticut State Capitol. Law enforcement officials in Connecticut didn’t immediately respond to questions.

Federal officials have warned that public servants at all levels of government are facing a huge surge in threats in recent years.

In September, Attorney General Merrick Garland testified that government workers had seen an “astounding” number of such threats.

The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, a group of local election officials and law enforcement that focuses on protecting election officials and workers, condemned the threats Wednesday.

"There is ZERO tolerance for such threats this election year. Zero," the group wrote on X. "Election officials and legislators alike cannot be intimidated for doing their jobs."