A suspicious item spotted in a Sacramento County Courthouse restroom in downtown Sacramento Monday morning forced a courtroom evacuation and brought a sheriff’s explosives detail to the scene.
A janitor located the item about 8:30 a.m. in a trash can inside the second floor restroom of the courthouse and notified court security deputies, court officials said. The discovery forced deputies to clear and close nearby Department 9, a second-floor scheduling courtroom where preliminary hearings and trials are assigned.
A squad of deputies blocked off an elevator at the second floor as the department’s judge, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin McCormick, conferred with the courthouse’s security team. By 10:30 a.m., a pair of deputies from the sheriff’s explosives detail arrived to investigate the reported device.
The item was determined to be an empty toilet tissue roll with a type of wick attached, said Sacramento Superior Court spokeswoman Kim Pedersen. She said the item was suspected to be a prank, but the courtroom was closed and bomb deputies called as a precaution.
No other courtrooms nor the second-floor jurors’ mezzanine and waiting area were evacuated and courthouse operations were otherwise normal. Pedersen said court administrators notified judges and staff in the building’s other courtrooms of the incident.
Pedersen said officials suspected that “the item that was found was a prank in their initial assessment,” but called in bomb experts to be sure before deciding whether to order a wider evacuation.
The courtroom reopened just before 11 a.m.