The Marshall County Courthouse in Guntersville closed Thursday morning due to a bomb threat.
Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Deputy Steve Guthrie said deputies discovered a handwritten note stating there was a bomb in the building Thursday morning at about 9:45 a.m.
The building was immediately evacuated and closed for the remainder of the day.
“The Sheriff’s Office is right behind the courthouse, and once we were notified, we got people in route,” Guthrie said during an early afternoon press conference.
“We were able to evacuate all members of the public and all employees from the courthouse in about 7 to 8 minutes.
“We secured the courthouse and then notified businesses that face the courthouse as a matter of safety.”
Guntersville Police and Fire departments, ALEA, the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency and the Enhanced Ordinance Disposal Unit from Huntsville were summoned to the scene.
EOD brought bomb detecting dogs and handlers conducted a “slow search” of the building, Guthrie said.
The courthouse remained closed Thursday afternoon as a precaution and is expected to reopen as usual on Friday.
“We will be asking every employee as they come into work Friday morning to check their workspace for anything unusual or suspicious and to let us know if there is,” Guthrie said. “If there is nothing, we will move on to business as usual.”
The investigation into the note and how it came into the courthouse remains underway, Guthrie said. Anyone deemed responsible for the note and arrested for the incident will face charges of making terroristic threats, Guthrie said.
Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson said he was pleased with the response from law enforcement.
“The Sheriff called my office … and within 7 to 8 minutes the courthouse was completely evacuated,” Hutchinson said. “I would like to compliment the Sheriff and his staff. Overall, I think everything went very well.”
Guthrie said there are “many working parts” to the courthouse as members of the public gather to apply for driver’s licenses and vehicle tags, file court documents, pay taxes, apply for passports and attend court hearings and trials.
“When something like this interrupts the day, there are a lot of moving parts,” he said. “Everyone did a great job getting out and getting the courthouse secured.
“We have had bomb threats in the past, but there hasn’t been one since I have been in office.
“We try to plan for this and have a procedure in place. In this case, we did have a plan and were able to execute it well and quickly.”