A Maine State Police trooper and a dog enter the Maine State House to investigate an emailed bomb threat that caused the building to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon in Augusta. It was one of several threats to state governments across the U.S. that the FBI determined to be hoaxes. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The Maine State House was evacuated Wednesday afternoon due to an emailed bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax, officials said.

The incident came as nearly two dozen other states fielded similar bomb hoaxes, and hours after hundreds of people had rallied at the building to call for stricter gun laws.

Lawmakers, state employees and others who had convened in Augusta for the start of the second session of the 131st Legislature on Wednesday were ordered out of the building around 2 p.m.

About 300 people were sent to the nearby Burton M. Cross Building, which is connected to the State House by an underground tunnel.

Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said Capitol Police responded to the situation and the Maine State Police sent two K9 units to clear out the building.

“There were no explosives found and the threat was deemed to be a hoax,” Moss wrote hours later in a statement, noting that the threat was “discovered” around 1:45 p.m.


Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi and Montana also received bomb threats Wednesday and evacuated statehouse offices or buildings. At least 23 states were reportedly targeted, according to a copy of an emailed threat obtained by CNN.

No explosives were found and the FBI also dismissed those threats as hoaxes, the Associated Press reported.

After an emailed bomb threat caused an evacuation Wednesday, a Capitol Police Officer moves cones so another law enforcement vehicle can approach the Maine State House on the opening day of the second regular session of the 131st Maine Legislature in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Moss confirmed the Maine threat was emailed to a person who works at the State House, but did not name the employee.

Capitol Police Chief Matthew Clancy could not be immediately reached for comment. Augusta police and fire departments assisted on scene.

Wednesday marked the second time in a week that Maine politicians have been targeted by swatting incidents, in which callers phone authorities about a fake emergency in order to elicit a large police response.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows received a similar threat over the weekend when someone called police to falsely report a break-in at her home in Manchester. The threat was one of several she has faced in the days after she decided to remove former President Donald Trump from Maine’s Republican primary ballot citing his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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