CALGARY – It’s business as usual at the Calgary Courts Centre, after a major bomb scare shut down the building for much of Wednesday.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the court centre and surrounding buildings, after the discovery of a suspicious package.
Police say a man entered the building at 6th Avenue and 5th Street S.W. with a package around 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
The package was put through an X-Ray machine as part of routine screening when entering the building, but was flagged while being examined.
When sheriffs questioned the man, he gave inconsistent answers which caused concern.
After an image of the device was sent to police bomb technicians, the building was evacuated and the man arrested.
Tactical officers and bomb technicians rushed to the scene, while police closed off streets and Calgary Transit shut down CTrain service in the area.
“When you’re dealing with suspicious packages or potential explosive packages, you want to take precautions to ensure public safety, so it takes resources to cordon off a certain area,” explains Kevin Brookwell from the Calgary Police Service.
A small red package was safely removed from the building by a robot around 1 p.m.
“There’s some other personal property other than the device that was taken away, belonging to the suspect,” Brookwell added.
Police then turned their search to Marlborough Mall, where about a hundred cars were cordoned off by police tape and searched because one of them was believed to be linked to the suspect. They were handed back to their owners around 10:30 p.m.
The suspect remains in custody being questioned by police, but it’s still unknown if the bomb was real.
Officials are asking people who had court appearances scheduled for May 1st and were either unable to attend or asked to leave before receiving a new date, to visit the building at 9 a.m. on Thursday. You’re then required to check the front display monitors to determine which court room to attend.
The evacuation had an immediate impact on the justice system, with a number of cases having to be rescheduled.
“Whenever there’s a delay, we have people in custody, some people wait nine months for their day in court,” explains defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli. “When that matter is no longer available, if has a trickle-down effect on our clients and the judicial system as a whole.”
Watch: Many were evacuated downtown, David Boushy reports on the impact the bomb scare had.
-With files from Tracy Nagai