Bomb scare clears County-City Building

Audio equipment mailed to a Tacoma city employee at work prompted a bomb scare Monday at the County-City Building.

Pierce County officials ordered the 11-story building at 930 Tacoma Ave. S. evacuated about 12:15 p.m. after workers became suspicious of a package delivered to the west-side loading dock.

Inmates in the nearby jail were moved to safer areas within the jail complex but were not evacuated.

“There’s nowhere to evacuate them to,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

The wooden crate appeared homemade, Troyer said, with the employee’s address and the return address scribbled sloppily in black marker directly on the wooden surface. Authorities X-rayed the crate and saw what appeared to be wires and electronic components inside, Troyer said.

They decided to evacuate the building as a precaution while a bomb-disposal team was called in to investigate further, he said. Government employees, attorneys and other people with business at the courthouse gathered on street corners as news helicopters hovered overhead.

Police sounded the “all clear” about two hours later and people streamed back inside.

Bomb experts discovered what appeared to be a vintage amplifier or speaker in the crate, along with other parts, Troyer said.

The box was addressed to a Tacoma city attorney who was not at work Monday. Troyer said investigators plan to speak with that person today.

“It sounds like someone ordered something and that’s why it was there,” Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.

District Court Administrator Chuck Ramey said warrants would not issue for defendants who missed a hearing because of the bomb scare. Instead, court officials will reschedule the hearing and mail out a new summons, Ramey said.