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Errant Newspaper Delivery Creates Bomb Scare at County Courthouse

Sheriff Rick Staly (right) helping monitor the situation from a mobile command unit. ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff's Office

What turned out to be a misplaced delivery of newspapers caused a brief bomb scare at the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell on Thursday. A rectangular box wrapped in a delivery bag containing a shipment of Palm Coast Observer papers resulted in a massive law enforcement response from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Bunnell Police Department, as well as the summoning of the St. Johns County bomb squad.

The shipment was detonated as part of a training exercise, according to a subsequent statement released by Observer publisher Brian McMillan. “It all started with a lack of communication with a new driver,” the statement said. “This time, it happened to be an opaque gray, scented garbage bag, which made it appear suspicious.”

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The driver being new to the job, they evidently placed the shipment at the wrong building: the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center is across the facility from the Government Services Building, where the papers normally appear. A security check in the morning identified the shipment as suspicious, and a massive response went underway.

ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Rick Staly made contact with McMillan as the conflict went on, suspecting it may be the Observer’s papers. Jonathan Lord, Director of the Flagler County Emergency Management Department, also received a similar shipment and confirmed that it was newspapers and not anything nefarious. Once the shipment of the courthouse was determined to be the Observer, the bomb squad blew it up anyway to get a training exercise in amid the chaos.

“Fortunately, this was a false alarm, but it still shows that our security protocols and training worked perfect in the event this had been proven to be a real danger,” said Sheriff Staly afterward. “I commend our Communications Center, Real Time Crime Center, and everyone involved to ensure the safety of our judges, courthouse staff, and citizens.”

“I apologize for the lack of training and communication that led to this happening,” McMillan added. “Lessons were learned, and we will do better at training new drivers.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. TR

    March 11, 2024 at 4:32 pm

    Glad this turned out to be a mistake by mis communication. It could have been worse if it was a real bomb and people died or injured had it gone off. Better safe then sorry I guess.

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