The Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center was evacuated around 12:30 p.m. as authorities investigated the threat, but individuals are now returning to the building.
The Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center in downtown Sarasota was evacuated this afternoon as authorities investigated a bomb threat, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office announced.
At 1:59 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office reported authorities had cleared the courthouse and began allowing members of court administration back into the building.
Individuals who were inside the courthouse, located at 2002 Ringling Blvd., said the evacuation began around 12:30 p.m. In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office said the evacuation included “all essential courthouse personnel and staff,” civilians and potential jurors.
The Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Fire Department were at the scene during the investigation. The perimeter of the courthouse was taped off as members of the sheriff’s Hazardous Devices Unit and K-9 Unit conducted a sweep.
A sheriff’s deputy said authorities had made two passes through the facility as of 1:20 p.m., but the building remained evacuated.
As of 1:45 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said it had cleared more than half of the courthouse as it conducted a sweep. Authorities had also cleared the Terrace Administration Building, the county jail, the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office and the Sarasota County Justice Center.
During the investigation, Ringling Boulevard was closed to vehicular traffic between U.S. 301 and East Avenue.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.