Texarkana, TX 72° Thu H 89° L 71° Fri H 88° L 71° Sat H 89° L 70° Weather Sponsored By:

'Suspicious package' at Bi-State building removed after evacuation

'Suspicious package' at Bi-State building removed after evacuation

March 18th, 2019 by Lori Dunn in Texarkana News

An El Dorado officer walks towards a suspicious package outside of the Bi-State Justice Building in his Explosive Ordnance Disposal suit on Monday, March 18, 2019, in Texarkana, Texas. The Bi-State Justice Building was evacuated about 9:40 a.m. today and a bomb squad is en route to investigate the report of a "suspicious package" outside of the building, an official said.

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

Materials found inside a suspicious device found outside the Bi-State Justice Building early Monday have been determined to be non-hazardous.

"The bomb squad advised due to its shape that it was warranted to call them and have it removed, but after a full investigation, they found the material inside to be non-hazardous and the package rendered safe," said Sgt. Rick Cockrell, spokesman for Texarkana, Ark., Police Department.

Cockrell said the investigation by El Dorado determined there was nothing combustible in the suspicious device or anything that could have been ignited. As a result, the suspicious device would not have been detonated.

"They took samples of the materials and submitted them to the crime lab," he said.

Texarkana Police will review video footage to hopefully determine when the item was placed near the Bi-State and who might have put it at the location, Cockrell said.

The El Dorado, Ark., Bomb Squad removed the suspicious item from the site shortly after 1 p.m. Monday and took it to a secure location.

"The El Dorado Bomb Squad used their device to go in and move the object. It was deemed safe at this point. ... and it will be taken to a secure location where they can investigate what its made of," Cockrell said after removal.

The bomb squad uses a device similar to a small robot to remove suspicious items. The squad then secured the suspicious item in a secure container.

The bomb squad arrived in Texarkana about 12:30 p.m. to examine the suspicious package found on the northeast side of BI-State Justice Building.

The package was found about 8:40 a.m. Monday by a patron outside the building, Cockrell said

The package was a cylinder-shaped and about the size of Catholic prayer candles, with wires coming out of the package, said Cockrell. Also, the package has symbolized writing on it, he said.

Cockrell said it is unclear if the patron who reported the package was a visitor or an employee who worked in the building. Also unclear is if the person came into the building to report the package or called to report the package.

Portions of the building were bordered with crime scene tape and State Line Avenue was barricaded for about a block from the Bi-State.

The building was evacuated and the prisoners on the building's top floor were placed under lockdown.

Bi-State dispatchers were moved to another location where they could continue to answer calls, Cockrell said.

The Bi-State Justice Building opened in the mid-1980s and houses law enforcement and court operations for Texarkana, Ark.; Texarkana, Texas; and Bowie County Sheriff's Office.

The evacuation was lifted about 1:30 p.m. Monday. It's standard procedure to evacuate when a suspicious item is found.

"Regardless of the outcome we treat every incident like it's the real thing," Cockrell said.

Anyone who sees suspicious people or activity is asked to call the police promptly. Anyone with information is asked to contact the TAPD at 903-798-3154 or Texarkana area CrimeStoppers at 903-793-STOP.


(Texarkana Gazette's Christy Busby Worsham and Jason Hopkins contributed to this story)

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com