Capitol Police: Wednesday’s threats were not connected
- Feb. 16, 2012
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Topeka Capitol Police arrested two men Wednesday for unrelated security threats against the Kansas Capitol.
The first arrest was made after authorities discovered homemade explosives in a truck parked in a restricted lot of the Kansas Judiciary building. On Wednesday, Capitol Police Captain Marc McCure said police arrested the owner of the vehicle in a state office building, which is linked to the Capitol by an underground tunnel.
According to the Associated Press on Thursday, the suspect will not face federal charges and was released from custody late Wednesday. Capitol Police spokesman Patrick Saleh told the Associated Press that the Kansas Highway Patrol will speak with the Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor about possible charges early next week; he will discuss the case with federal, state and local law enforcements Friday morning. The suspect is not considered a flight risk.
In a second incident, McCure said Gov. Sam Brownback’s office received a series of threatening phone calls. The calls began Tuesday and continued until police arrested a man Wednesday morning at a Topeka motel. The Associated Press reported that police arrested a 37-year-old man in connections to the case, but no criminal charges have been filed. District Judge Steven Ebberts set bail for the man at $25,000.
“We had two separate and independent events the just ironically happened on the same day,” McCure said.
Despite both threats to the Statehouse, legislative procedures remained uninterrupted Wednesday.
Jeffery Russell, director of Legislative Administrative Services said he didn’t become aware of the situation until he received an “all clear” alert.
“The legislature was in no immediate danger,” Russell said.
McCure said the Capitol Police sent out a notification regarding the discovery of explosives through a free mass-communication system it uses to alert subscribers to security issues. Capitol Police also alerted the Governor’s office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said additional Capitol Police forces were called in to heighten security along with the assistance of FBI, ATF and Topeka police officers.
“The Topeka city police were very helpful,” he said.
McCure said the Topeka Police Department’s bomb squad removed approximately 12 explosives from the truck. The explosives were found after an officer began investigating the truck for being parked illegally in the restricted lot. The officer saw suspicious items like an empty gun case in plane sight.
McCure said the arrests were not in relation to a Wednesday afternoon rally of Brownback-opposing protesters on the Capitol’s southern steps. The authorities determined the area to be safe before the rally began.
Edited by Corinne Westeman