Bomb threat Downtown ends after man in tree near U.S. courthouse taken into custody

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A barefoot man who had climbed a tree near the U.S. District Courthouse Downtown and was making bomb threats was taken into custody Thursday in an incident that forced the evacuation of the courthouse and closure of nearby streets for just over two hours.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Geitter said firefighters were called around 3:30 p.m. to assist the man, who was in a tree near the intersections of Marconi Boulevard and Long Street outside the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

When crews arrived, Geitter said they found a man behaving irrationally and making threats that he placed a bomb somewhere nearby.

Columbus police and SWAT officers and the FBI responded to the scene.

The U.S. District Court was closed and cleared by the Columbus Division of Fire's bomb squad, Geitter said.

The bomb squad also analyzed video footage of the man in the tree and determined he did not have a device on his person. Geitter said it appeared "there was no real bomb threat."

Around 5:45 p.m., the man climbed down from the tree and taken into custody, said Columbus police Sgt. Joe Albert, who was also the negotiator in the incident. While he was being taken to a police van, the man could be heard yelling and saying that he had a bomb.

Police have charged the 44-year-old man involved with making terroristic threats. The Dispatch is not identifying him, however, because Albert said the man involved appeared to be having a mental health crisis.

The intersection was reopened to traffic around 6:10 p.m.

@Colebehr_report

cbehrens@dispatch.com

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Bomb threat outside federal courthouse ends after man taken into custody