A phoned in bomb threat and suspicious package left at the steps of the Deschutes County Courthouse Monday morning was deemed a hoax by the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit, ending a tense, hours-long situation in downtown Bend.
But police are still on the hunt for a person of interest caught on video dropping off the package.
Someone called 9-1-1 around 7 a.m. to report two bombs – one at the courthouse and the other in a separate, undisclosed location nearby. The courthouse was evacuated and streets in the area blocked off shortly after that, according to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Sgt. William Bailey. All court activity was cancelled for the day as well.
The device prompted a call to the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit, which arrived from Eugene at about 11 a.m. While the team assessed the device, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office tweeted out they were seeking a person of interest and released a short security video of what appears to be a man wearing a cowboy hat, grey hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and jeans carrying a box under one arm.
Just after 1 p.m. the OSP Explosives Unit used a water cannon to neutralize the device. Further investigation revealed it did not contain any explosive materials. Meanwhile, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said an OSP explosives detection K9 and investigators searched the courthouse and surrounding areas and found no other suspicious packages. All roads in the area re-opened around 2 p.m.
The threat prompted a multi-agency response involving Bend Police, Oregon State Police, Bend Public Works and Deschutes County Roads Department.
Anyone with information is asked to contact dispatch at 541-693-6911.