Bomb threat shuts down courthouse
by Staff Reports
May 10, 2014 | 2633 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A bomb threat shut down a portion of downtown Jasper Friday morning and forced a lockdown of Maddox Middle School.

According to Walker County Commission Chairman Billy Luster, the original bomb threat was called in to the Walker County Probate Judge’s Office at approximately 8:40 a.m. Friday. The caller threatened the Walker County Courthouse and Annex, the Probate Office, the Jasper Post Office and the Walker County Jail.

Bomb detection dogs were called in from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Hoover and Tuscaloosa police departments. Nothing was found, and normal business resumed at the courthouse shortly after 11 a.m.

Jail Administrator Trent McCluskey said they evacuated the public from the building, canceled inmate visitation and searched the building using bomb dogs from Tuscaloosa County, along with Investigator Darryl Mote from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, while Jasper police worked with jail staff to maintain a secure perimeter.

Robert Sparkman, the superintendent of Jasper City Schools, said the only school in the district affected by Friday’s bomb threat was Maddox Middle School. He said students and school staff followed the appropriate protocol during the situation.

“What we do is secure the perimeter of the school. We just don’t have people coming in and out. We carry on classes and just make sure we secure the outside, limit traffic and don’t let any people come in the building unless it’s a parent,” Sparkman said. “We continued to have classes because there’s quite a distance between our school and the downtown area, and we notified our parents of what we were doing, too. It’s a very similar situation to what happened last time. Whenever there’s a threat like there was at the courthouse, the police always let us know. ... We always work with our local police, and they’re always real good to advise us and what precautions to take.”

Sparkman said he was notified by police around 9 a.m. Friday and was given the all-clear close to noon.

The Walker County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

“We’ve spent most of the day gathering records and conducting interviews,” Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Ralph Williams said. “We developed two people of interest that we believe made the call to the Probate Office this morning, but we are unable to provide details as the investigation is ongoing.”