A suspicious package delivered to the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta Thursday -- prompting an evacuation of the entire court complex -- turned out to be harmless, authorities said.
The item, received by staff in the Office of the Public Defender shortly after 10 a.m., was examined by members of the Riverside County sheriff's Hazardous Devices Team, who determined its contents were not a threat, according to Deputy Albert Martinez.
"It was suspicious, and we were called to investigate," Martinez said, adding that he had "no idea" why it was deemed a potential threat in the first place.
Bailiffs ordered all courthouse personnel, jurors and everyone else to exit the complex and wait outside.
After the bomb squad completed its exam of the package, the "all clear" order was given, and the facility was re-opened to the general public at 1:30 p.m., according to Martinez.
Original story as follows:
The Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta was evacuated Thursday upon the arrival of a package that authorities perceived as potentially threatening.
"It was suspicious, and we were called to investigate," said Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Albert Martinez.
He said the package was delivered shortly after 10 a.m. to the Office of the Public Defender, whose personnel alerted courthouse security, prompting a precautionary evacuation during which courtroom activity was suspended and everyone in the complex was ordered outside.
Martinez said he had "no idea" why the item was deemed a potential threat.
The sheriff's Hazardous Devices Team, or bomb squad, was sent to investigate.
– City News Service.