An employee leaves the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The building was among numerous state capitals targeted by bomb threats that federal law enforcement officials are calling a hoax. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

An employee leaves the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The building was among numerous state capitals targeted by bomb threats that federal law enforcement officials are calling a hoax. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Alaska’s Capitol among those in multiple states targeted by emailed bomb threats FBI calls a hoax

Church in downtown Juneau, other buildings across state and U.S. also receive threats.

The Alaska State Capitol is among several capital buildings across the U.S. — along with a multitude of other buildings, including a church in downtown Juneau — receiving emailed bomb threats Wednesday that federal law enforcement officials are calling a hoax.

A statement posted by the Juneau Police Department on its Facebook page shortly before noon confirmed the threats at the state Capitol and church. The statement noted “state Capitols, Universities, and other large entities around the country are being flooded with emailed bomb threats today.”

“JPD is working with the responsible parties for each (local) building to determine if a response is needed,” the statement added. “Coordination with the FBI office regarding these threats is ongoing.”

A notice sent to legislators and staff at the Capitol by Rayme Vinson, chief of security for the Legislative Affairs Agency, stated the threat was received at 3:38 a.m. “as part of a nationwide massive hoax email sent to several state capitals; in Alaska, emails were received by Anchorage, Bethel and Cordova LIO general email inboxes.”

“Capital Security investigated and determined there was no actual threat, thus no evacuation was ordered,” the notice added.

The threats follow a spate of false reports of shootings at the homes of public officials in recent days, according to the Associated Press. Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana were among the states that evacuated statehouse offices or buildings on Wednesday.

An additional threat was received Thursday at the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museums, according to Mary Irvine, curator of statewide services for the museum, in an email sent to Alaska Heritage Emergency Network members.

“This seems like a great opportunity to encourage a review and communication with staff at your own institution your procedures for bomb threat,” she wrote.

“The threat was received by email, came in to one of our generic email accounts, and was processed according to our procedures: local police were contacted, several uniformed officers responded immediately, and while the threat was discounted since the police were aware (since yesterday) of many similar threats, perimeter checks were done, and walkthroughs of all spaces,” Irvine added. “Had the threat been credible, we would have evacuated according to our current emergency plan, and gone from there.”

The threat went to a list of library/museum/cultural organizations in Alabama and Alaska, according to her email. As with the threats Wednesday, the FBI is also involved in the investigation.

A series of bomb threats to Alaska schools during the school year, including one at Harborview Elementary School in December that resulted in a brief evacuation, have also been reported in recent months.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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