Police still investigating courthouse bomb scare

Photo courtesy KTAL-6.

UPDATE II from late Tuesday afternoon:

By Bonnie Culverhouse

As of Tuesday afternoon, Minden Police were still investigating a suitcase or backpack left on the front steps of the Webster Parish Courthouse that morning.

“We got a couple of leads from some papers that tie us to whoever we think is responsible for it,” said Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper. “It’s just a matter of intent … what was his intent?”

Video surveillance was grainy, said the chief.

“We got him on video, but it’s pretty far away,” he added. “It’s hard to recognize just by the video itself, but we did find some things inside the suitcase that tied us to some relatives.”

Police will be going back over the video to follow up on a witness report of seeing someone sitting beside the suitcase early Tuesday morning.

Cropper said an x-ray of the suitcase showed a wire inside that was weed eater line.

“There was a spring that was recovered, but there wasn’t much to it,” he said. “There was a flag attached to the suitcase and a little bit of paperwork.”

UPDATE I from 10:30 a.m. Tuesday:

A suspicious suitcase on the front steps of the courthouse has been rendered safe. Bossier City Fire Department’s bomb squad x-rayed the package, and reportedly detonated it in the street. It is still unknown what was in the suitcase. Minden Police have taken over the investigation and are currently collecting evidence. Evacuation has been lifted and the westbound lane in front of the courthouse is the only street still closed at this point. Webster Parish Courthouse should be re-opened by noon. Louisiana State Police Hazmat and the Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are still on the scene.

ORIGINAL STORY from 9 a.m. Tuesday:

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Roads through downtown Minden are closed due to a suspicious package left on the front steps of the Webster Parish Courthouse some time Monday evening.

Sheriff Jason Parker said a suitcase was discovered this morning by courthouse employees coming to work. All were evacuated.

“We have the Bossier City bomb squad here now,” Parker said around 8:45 a.m. “They should x-ray it shortly.”

Parker said the suitcase had a flag in it with “something else draped over it. We have the suspect on camera but we have not identified him yet. Public safety is paramount, so we will let you know when roads are open and we have the green light.”

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