Suspicious package prompts police response
Published 12:02 am Friday, September 11, 2015
A report of a suspicious package locked down a city shopping center on Thursday evening.
However the Elizabethton Police Department was later able to determine the package was not a bomb.
“At this time there does not appear to be anything explosive in nature,” EPD Capt. Joy Shoun said. “It appears to be a hoax device.”
The investigation started around 6:20 p.m. on Thursday when a customer in the West Towne Square shopping center on Hudson Drive returned to his truck and found a suspicious package sitting on the back of the vehicle, Shoun said.
“He was concerned by it,” Shoun said. “He did the right thing; he backed off and called 911.”
When officers arrived and inspected the package they too were concerned by it, Shoun said.
“We called in assistance from the Johnson City Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit,” Shoun said. “They were able to do a safety detonation of the package.”
Once the safety detonation took place, police and firefighters moved in for a closer look at what remained of the package.
Shoun once again stressed that nothing explosive was found with the package and the incident appeared to be a hoax.
The police department is continuing to investigate the package, its contents and who may have placed it on the man’s truck, Shoun said.
In addition to the EOD unit from Johnson City, Shoun said members of the Elizabethton Fire Department along with members of the Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad also responded to the scene. Because of the nature of the investigation, Shoun said the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Division had also been alerted as had the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security.
No further information was available on Thursday night, but Shoun said additional information may be released as the investigation progresses.
Most of the shopping center was cordoned off by police tape and emergency vehicles. Despite the potential risk, groups of spectators gathered just outside the line to watch the situation unfold.