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Chaos as Boston courthouse is evacuated amid false report suspect was detained

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-17 19:08:47-04

When a federal building is threatened with bombing, people inside take the threat seriously, and move out promptly.  That’s what happened at the federal courthouse in Boston, after false rumors swirled that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was under arrest and being brought to court.

It was a stirring scene just after 3:00 P.M.  About a dozen-and-a-half preschoolers from the building’s day care held hands as their teachers led them out of the nine-story brick structure in South Boston.  The children were ordered to get out, along with every adult in the building, in an incident related to the Boston Marathon bombing, which left a child dead, along with two adults in their twenties.

Somebody called in a bomb threat to the building after it was rumored that someone who had been identified as the Marathon bomber was being brought to court to make a first appearance before a judge.

It did not happen.  In fact, there was no arrest, or even anyone in custody, even though law enforcement close to the case confirmed that a person of strong interest had been spotted on surveillance video from the Lord and Taylor department store near the bombing scene.

boston court

About a dozen-and-a-half preschoolers from the building’s day care held hands as their teachers led them out of the nine-story brick structure in South Boston.

In contrast to the lack of truth to the rumors about an arrest, the bomb threat to the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse were real.  The threat was taken very seriously as well, as attested by the flotilla of armed Coast Guard, police and state boats that were brought to the pier behind the building.

There was air cover to boot, with a Coast Guard helicopter positioned above the courthouse, and no shortage of machine gun-carrying federal marshals keeping everyone away from the structure, after evacuating them.

“They said, ‘Code Red,'” a Justice Department employee, who would not give his name, told PIX11 News.  “It means don’t bother going back to your desk, just get out.”

Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Code Red orders are taken very seriously by every federal employee.  When an actual marathon bombing suspect, or suspects, are taken into custody, however, it’s an open question as to what will happen when he’s brought to court.

At the Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday, there was talk of the suspect being taken to a federal courthouse in a less populated area than Boston.  A courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts was mentioned.