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State government buildings face bomb threats for second consecutive day

Buildings across Mississippi and Arkansas received bomb threats on Thursday — one day after similar threats forced state Capitol complexes across the U.S. to evacuate.
Image: A Capitol Police officer warns off passersby
A Capitol Police officer warns off passersby Wednesday after a bomb threat at the Mississippi state Capitol in Jackson.Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Government buildings across the South received bomb threats on Thursday — the second consecutive day that such warnings prompted serious security measures at government facilities.

In Mississippi, “multiple bomb threats at various locations across the state” prompted officials to take “precautionary measures” and put in place “standard emergency procedures,” the state’s Department of Public Safety wrote on X.

The agency said bomb teams had been deployed to locations throughout the state.

Department spokesperson Bailey Martin said the agency was working with state and federal officials in investigating the threats.

Tyree Jones, the sheriff of Hinds County — which includes the state Capitol in Jackson — wrote on X that several local and state courthouses had received threats and been evacuated.

In Arkansas, the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock was also forced to evacuate after a bomb threat was received, a spokesperson for the Arkansas State Capitol Police said.

Local media reports in Florida, Massachusetts and Maine indicated that similar threats had prompted the evacuations of state and local government buildings in those states. That included a state courthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida, — the Fifth District Court of Appeal — as well as town and county government offices in Nantucket County in Massachusetts, and several courthouses in the Portland, Maine area.

Law enforcement officials in Florida, Massachusetts and Maine didn’t immediately respond to questions.

The fresh wave of threats comes one day after at least eight state Capitol complexes — including the ones in Mississippi and Arkansas — were forced to evacuate following bomb threats. 

In a statement, the FBI said that it was "aware of the numerous hoax bomb threats sent to various government buildings and other facilities" on Wednesday and Thursday but that it had "no information to indicate a specific and credible threat."

The agency added that it would "continue to work with our law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention."

Federal officials have warned that public servants at all levels of government have faced 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.

In addition, several government officials have faced, in just the last month, an uptick in “swattings” — when someone makes a false report of a crime in progress to draw police to a certain location.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said she was the victim of a swatting incident at her home in Georgia on Christmas Day, while Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said his home in Naples, Florida, was “swatted” a few days later.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows was the target of a swatting call on Dec. 30, after ruling that former President Donald Trump was constitutionally ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot next year.