CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.- Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Charlotte County Courthouse this morning after a suspicious package was brought into a judges chamber.
"The call was for a substance that was found in one of the rooms at the justice center," Dee Hawkins from the Charlotte County Fire and EMS said.
According to attorney Andrew Banyai, Englewood resident John Ridge Emery, 67, a defendant in a courtroom on the third floor courtroom of Judge Paul Alessandroni started getting emotional about his case and approached the bench.
"He just did not warn anybody that he was about to bring out as bag or an envelope and the deputies did not like where it was headed so they took action which is their job," Banyai said.
Because officials had no idea what was in the package, they evacuated the whole building and separated people because of fears of some kind of contamination
People were grouped in different levels of possible exposures, but there was no confirmation of any direct exposure.
The Lee County Bomb Squad removed the package and officials started to release people, but most of them could not leave because their vehicles were still behind the yellow tape. After the bomb squad removed the package, the sheriff's office towed a vehicle from the parking lot that they believe is connected to the incident
"It may be a part of this equation in here; I'm not sure about those kind of details. They just towed it off," Charlotte County Sheriffs spokesman Bob Carpenter said.
Shortly afterwards, officials cleared the courthouse and let everyone go back to their offices and cars. Emery was taken to the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office for questioning, but no charges have been filed.