Knife and bomb threat at New Castle County Courthouse

Employees have been allowed back into the New Castle County Courthouse and N. King Street has been reopened, following this afternoon’s bomb scare.

The Delaware Capitol Police are continuing to investigate a bomb threat phoned in at 12:14 p.m. The courthouse and local businesses were evacuated for several hours while police dogs searched the parking garage and each floor of the building. The search was completed at 2:40 p.m. and no explosives were found.

Four days ago, a Wilmington man tried to enter the courthouse with a knife.

Delaware Capitol Police say a 10-inch knife was discovered when 56-year-old Douglas Hunnings’ belongings went through the x-ray machine, Friday, during the security screening process.

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Charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, Hunnings was taken into custody without incident and released after posting $250.00 secured bond.

“That’s what the screening process is about, to make sure no one enters the courthouse with anything prohibited,” said Kimberly Chandler, spokeswoman for Delaware’s Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security.

All of this comes two weeks after the fatal shootings at the New Castle County Courthouse. But the violence that claimed the lives of Christine Belford and Laura Mulford, Feb. 11, occurred in the courthouse’s lobby, where visitors wait in line to go through the metal detectors.

Gunman Thomas Matusiewicz killed himself after shooting his former daughter-in-law and her friend at point-blank range. Two Capitol Police officers were also injured. 

Some people have suggested the courthouse move the metal detectors closer to the entrances to tighten security. Chandler says the state is conducting a thorough review of security procedures at the courthouse. Once that’s done, Chandler says, only then will Capitol Police or the court system determine what kind of changes, if any, are needed.

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