A growing number of states across the country are reporting that they have received bomb threats to their Capitols on Wednesday morning ― just days after the Maine secretary of state expressed concern about her safety.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the states that have reported receiving bomb threats include Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana. The threats resulted in government buildings either proceeding with an evacuation or a lockdown as police searched the area, but local authorities so far have not found evidence of dangerous items.
Gabriel Sterling, the operating officer for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, said earlier Wednesday that a bomb threat was delaying the state Capitol from opening.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety said it determined the threat was not credible after conducting a sweep of the building. According to the department, the bomb threat response was triggered by a hoax email sent to a state employee. The state Capitol has since been given the all clear.
In Kentucky, police asked everyone to evacuate the state Capitol after the secretary of state’s office received an email containing a bomb threat. KSP is investigating the threat, according to Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who added that everyone who was at the Capitol is safe.
Officials said the threat was also sent to multiple secretary of state offices throughout the country, according to LEX18-TV. It’s unclear if all the state Capitols reporting threats on Wednesday specifically received the same email containing a bomb threat.
“We are aware of similar threats made to other offices across the country,” Beshear posted on X. “We thank our first responders for their quick response, and we will provide more updates.”
In Michigan, an emergency announcement said that the state Capitol had been evacuated on Wednesday morning “due to safety and security concerns. According to The Detroit News, an email reportedly containing a bomb threat was sent to the Michigan State Capitol Commission’s general account.
State troopers were still sweeping the Capitol as of Wednesday afternoon, the outlet reported, and officials will keep the building closed for the rest of the day.
“This is not how I wanted to start 2024,” Democratic state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky tweeted. “I’m glad everyone is safe, but this violence is detrimental to our democracy.”
The Mississippi State Capitol went on lockdown due to a bomb threat, according to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bailey Martin. Martin said the investigation is ongoing, but police have since searched the area and did not find any dangerous items.
Connecticut and Montana’s state Capitols also underwent evacuations in response to a bomb threat, however officials in both states have since reported that a police sweep of the buildings revealed no explosives.
Across the state Capitol, local outlets reported that the Minnesota Supreme Court had to evacuate the building in the middle of oral arguments due to a threat. It’s unclear whether that threat has been resolved.
In a statement to HuffPost, the FBI said it is “aware of the numerous hoax incidents wherein a bomb threat at a state Capitol building is made,and urges the public to “remain vigilant” and inform law enforcement of any suspicious activity.
“The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” the agency said. “While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”
The threats come just days after Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows became the target of a swatting attempt, where someone makes a fake call to emergency services with the intent of bringing a large first responder presence, including SWAT teams, to another person’s residence. Bellows was not home at the time.
Last week, Bellows came under the spotlight for deciding to remove Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot. The secretary of state believes that the swatting attempt stemmed from that decision because it occurred after a conservative activist posted her home address on social media.
“And it was posted in anger and with violent intent by those who have been extending threatening communications toward me, my family and my office,” she told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The FBI did not say if investigators believe the threats made Wednesday morning could be related to Bellows’ case.
“There have been multiple bomb threats to state capitols around the nation,” Sterling posted on X. “Do not jump to conclusions as to who is responsible. There will be chaos agents sowing discord for 2024. They want to increase tensions. Don’t let them.”