Suspected bomb found outside Mississippi courthouse; investigators search for culprit

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, April 22, 2021

A suspected bomb was left outside a Mississippi courthouse Thursday sending a small town in a partial lockdown as roads were closed and bomb-sniffing dogs brought in to investigate.

The package was apparently under a pile of leaves that had blown onto the Panola County Courthouse steps and became visible when the leaves were blown away.

The packaged was noticed by the Courthouse deputy on duty, who thought it was a piece of trash, according to Panola County Sheriff Shane Phelps. When the officer picked up the package he realized it weighed about two pounds and quickly set it down again.

It reportedly weighs approximately two pounds, and concerned law enforcement officials enough to close most of the roads leading into the downtown area for portions of Thursday.

When a bomb-sniffing dog brought in by the Mississippi Highway Patrol indicated the package may contain some explosive materials, the Panola County Sheriff’s Office immediately made calls to have a professional bomb squad team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms come to investigate further.

Sheriff Phelps offered few details but confirmed that Thursday was scheduled to be a term of drug court at the courthouse when many people enrolled in the program would be coming before Circuit Court.

Phelps also confirmed that a man came to the courthouse earlier and asked if today was drug court and if a certain judge would be there. Phelps said he could give no more information at this point.

Some early reports said courthouse workers also warned about a bomb by a telephone caller, but that information has yet to be confirmed.

The sheriff confirmed late Thursday that the package was transported to a safe location and detonated. He said the courthouse would remain closed on Friday as investigators worked the case.

Article originally published in The Panolian.