The Bell County Courthouse near Fort Hood, TX. was evacuated Wednesday in response to a 30-second phone call police received that threatened to blow the facility up if the demands of accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan are not met.
“I just got the word that we were suppose to go right now so I just shut everything down and take off,” said Terry Johnston, a court reporter working in the courthouse, according to local NBC affiliate KCEN-TV.
Hasan is currently on trial for 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder resulting from a mass shooting the occurred on Nov. 5, 2009 at Fort Hood where he was stationed as an Army psychiatrist.
“The way I understand it is if Hasan didn’t get his request granted there would be a bomb exploded at the Bell County Courthouse,” Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said.
The caller didn’t tell the Bell County Sheriff’s Office what request he was referring to. However, Hasan was recently denied the use of a “defense of others” strategy by the judge, Col. Tara Osborn. He claimed he acted in defense of the Taliban. Hasan is acting as his own counsel in the proceedings at his request and against the advice of the court.
K-9 units searched the buildings for nearly two hours and came up empty-handed. The sheriff’s office is taking extra precautions. ”We’ve had a plan in place and we followed the plan. We’re probably overcautious because of the trial but we do have a plan and we followed that plan,” said Donnie Adams, who is with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office.
“I expect we probably will [get more threats]. We got security and they know how to handle it so,” said Johnston.
In response to the bomb threat, the courthouse exterior and common areas will now be swept each morning before it opens and throughout the day.
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