Active Shooter 3-12-19

Law enforcement officers from the Monterey County Sheriff's Office and Salinas Police Department wait outside the Board of Supervisors chambers in the County Government Center in Salinas on Tuesday afternoon.

For the second day in a row, threats of violence have interrupted operations at Monterey County government facilities, as law enforcement officials search for the person responsible for phoning in bomb threats as well as an active shooter threat.

The situation began unfolding just before 9am Monday, when the County Administration Building, District Attorney's Office and courthouse were evacuated following two bomb threats.

Hundreds of employees and members of the public, including those called for jury duty, flowed out of all three buildings and onto the surrounding streets as the sheriff's Bomb Squad came in, along with bomb-sniffing dogs, and searched all three buildings.

Sheriff's deputies and district attorney investigators cleared pedestrian traffic from the plaza between the courthouse and District Attorney's office, as armed police blocked off streets surrounding the government complex. No devices were found and people were allowed to return to the buildings just after 1pm.

Then one day later, on Tuesday afternoon March 12, a bomb threat was made to Lincoln Elementary School in South Salinas. After a search, no device was found, says Salinas Police spokesman Miguel Cabrera. After sheltering in place, students returned to their normal activities around 1:45pm. 

At about 1:15 today, another call came in, leading the District Attorney's Office to evacuate its building, briefly. This time, in addition to threatening a bombing, the caller also threatened to shoot up the county government center.

"It sounds like the same guy called again (today) and threatened a bomb, but this time he added he wanted to shoot the place up," says Monterey County Sheriff's Capt. John Thornburg. "The courts remained open because because there are deputies in each courtroom. We also searched and found nothing."

Again, Salinas police, district attorney's investigators and sheriff's deputies armed with rifles patrolled the plaza outside the buildings. At the county administration building, where the Board of Supervisors was meeting, police and deputies searched people's bags before allowing them into the meeting room.

"I think there's definitely some stress associated with this and it definitely stops us from working," says Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon. "I don't know what the motivation is, but if it's to stop us from working, it does work."

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the threats made against the county facilities, while Salinas police are investigating the threat at Lincoln School. 

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