August 7, 2013

Bomb squad responds to false alarm

Authorities closed off the parking deck near the Whitfield County Courthouse this morning as a Georgia Bureau of Investigation bomb squad X-rayed a bag that turned out to contain camera equipment.

Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Maj. John Gibson said one of the court security officers found an abandoned nylon carry case on the top level of the parking deck at around 8:30 a.m. during a normal morning security check.

“Considering the circumstances and the world we live in nowadays, he called it in as being a suspicious package,” Gibson said. “To be on the safe side, we went ahead and closed off the upper deck and parking deck.”

Gibson said the GBI’s bomb unit was called in to X-ray the bag and examine its contents, finding only some camera equipment inside.

“Apparently, somebody had left it and forgot it was there,” he said.

He said the parking deck was reopened shortly before 11 a.m.

This marks the second incident near the courthouse in two days. On Tuesday, authorities were called in after a man locked himself inside the entryway at the Georgia Legal Services office on West Crawford Street, saying he was trying to sue the federal government and becoming “a little bit belligerent,” said Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier.

Frazier said the man, Richard Allen Freeman, 63, of 84 Dayspring Drive, Hamilton, Ohio, left before police arrived. He was arrested near the courthouse without incident and charged with disorderly conduct. He has been released from the Whitfield County jail. A phone number for him could not be found.

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