Florida Capitol Complex reopens after overnight bomb threat
Members of the Capitol Police Department walk down the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol as multiple law enforcement agencies stationed around the Capitol Complex as a precaution after FBI warnings of potential violence at state capitols on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat

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The Tallahassee Police Department and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating.

An overnight bomb threat prompted law enforcement to close the Florida Capitol Complex until 9 a.m. Thursday, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“This morning I spoke w/ FDLE and Capitol Police,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls tweeted. “They worked through the night and early this morning to ensure the safety of the Capitol Complex. The vigilance and dedication of the Tallahassee Police Department, FDLE, FDI, our Capitol Police and all other agencies involved is deeply appreciated.”

Law enforcement cleared the building as of 6:15 a.m. Despite being deemed secure, the Capitol remained closed until 9 out of an “abundance of caution.”

Details about the threat are few, though FDLE said the threat was made sometime around 3 a.m.

“A bomb threat was made regarding Florida Capitol overnight,” FDLE said in an announcement. “Capitol Complex has been swept by law enforcement and explosive detecting K-9’s. No explosive devices were found & nothing suspicious identified.”

The Tallahassee Police Department and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating the bomb threat.

Thursday’s bomb threat marks the end of what otherwise was an uneventful week at the Capitol.

National Guardsmen and law enforcement officers filled the Capitol over the weekend after the FBI warned of a possibility of armed protests at all 50 state capitol buildings sometime this week.

Notably, tensions in Florida grew more acute Saturday when federal authorities arrested an Army veteran who plotted to confront Capitol protesters with a firearm.

The arrested Army veteran and Tallahassee resident, Daniel Baker, encouraged others to join his violent plot via his social media accounts.

Senate President Wilton Simpson has also told staff at multiple times in the last week to work from home as a safety measure.

Yet despite the FBI warning and a subsequent arrest, even Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday noted that the Florida Capitol has remained free of protests and without incident.

Two weeks ago, pro-Donald Trump rioters sieged the U.S. Capitol during a certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

Florida Politics reporter Jacob Ogles contributed to this report. 

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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