A woman whose suspicious actions prompted closure of the Tower Bridge due to a possible bomb threat was taken into custody about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday after a nearly two-hour standoff with police.
The bridge between West Sacramento and Sacramento was raised to prevent the vehicle, which police thought might contain explosives, from crossing the bridge from West Sacramento.
Sgt. Roger Kinney, West Sacramento police spokesman, said several suspicious devices were found but the bomb squad was unable to determine at the scene whether they were explosives. He said the devices were taken to a safe area Tuesday night and will be further examined Wednesday. As of 10:30 p.m., Kinney said the vehicle had been removed from the roadway and the Tower Bridge was reopened after a sweep of the area to ensure there were no other suspicious devices.
The woman’s name was not released Tuesday night because she had yet to be booked into jail. Kinney said she faces a felony charge of making a terrorist threat and a misdemeanor charge of reporting a false bomb to a peace officer. He said investigators do not know what the woman’s motives were.
Robots were used to search the vehicle to determine whether it contained explosives, Kinney said. The bridge and nearby streets were closed through the early evening..
The incident began about 2:40 p.m., when the woman parked a purple vehicle across traffic lanes near the bridge.
“When the officers arrived, they contacted the vehicle. They noticed something unusual. There were some items blocking the window … They also saw some suspicious wiring. We pulled everyone back,” Kinney said.
He said police asked that the bridge be raised as a precaution to prevent the vehicle from crossing it. Nearby streets were closed and negotiators were summoned.
Ken Hunt works in the state Department of General Services public affairs office, which is in the ziggurat building on Third Street in West Sacramento.
Hunt said he heard the bridge alarm sounding and looked out the window of his eighth-floor office. He said the vehicle was pulled across lanes of traffic facing the building. Using a camera with a telephoto lens, he took a photo of a sign in the window of the car. Hunt said it appeared to say, “Want fed public defender now.”
Kinney said he could not confirm the message on the sign but said he understood there was some “literature” in the car.
Hunt said employees in his office were told to stay away from windows to avoid injury from a potential explosion.
A spokeswoman in the California State Teachers Retirement System’s executive office, which occupies quarters on Waterfront Place in West Sacramento near the bridge, said employees were told to shelter in place.
On the Sacramento side of the river, access to the bridge was closed at Capitol Mall. The Sacramento Fire Department advised motorists to use the I Street Bridge or Interstate 80 to reach West Sacramento.