The South Bay Detention Facility and courthouse in Chula Vista were investigated Wednesday morning due to an alleged bomb threat, stalling operations at both sites for hours.
The investigation began around 6 a.m. after the Chula Vista Police Department received a call of a bomb threat to the jail in the 500 block of 3rd Avenue. Police notified the sheriff’s department, and deputies began checking the jail and courtrooms.
As a precaution, the jail, which is housed in the courthouse complex, was placed on lockdown, officials said. Employees at the courthouse were also asked to evacuate.
As of 7:15 a.m., officials had not found anything suspicious, but said they were taking all precautionary measures. Police assisted with traffic control in the area. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said no evacuations had been ordered at the jail.
By 7:40 a.m., officials had blocked off all entrances to the courthouse and were not allowing anyone inside. A deputy told NBC 7 the building doesn't open until 7:30 a.m., so there were very few employees inside at the time of the bomb threat.
Police dogs were on scene scouring the courthouse building as of 8:20 a.m. Meanwhile, more than 100 court staffers, attorneys and visitors were left standing outside in the parking lot while officials continued the investigation.
NBC 7 spoke with an employee and supervising judge who expected it to be at least one more hour before people would be allowed back inside the building. Later, that judge said the doors wouldn't open until at least 1 p.m.
The buildings remained on lockdown as of 9:50 a.m., and bomb squad officials had arrived on scene. Deputies said they would not move any inmates unless investigators found something and determined there was an actual threat.
An SDPD lieutenant said K-9s were sniffing out one particular area in the building. Fire crews and medics were also placed on standby, just in case.
By 10:20 a.m., deputies had deemed the building safe and began the process of clearing the scene. The courthouse was set to reopen at 1 p.m., officials said.
"After a thorough search of the South County Courthouse, no bomb was found. Normal business operations at the complex will resume by this afternoon," the sheriff's department added.
No further details about the unfounded threat were immediately released.