ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- UPDATE: Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said in a news conference Thursday morning that a device with bomb components was found and safely destroyed by the bomb squad.
Griffis said the black, two-foot-wide device was found around 7:45 a.m. by a courthouse employee entering the building. The device was found near an entrance.
The scene has been deemed “safe” by area law enforcement, but crews will remain on the scene for awhile. A team of federal investigators form the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Tobacco Firearms is expected to arrive soon to help with evidence recovery.
Griffis said a man was seen on camera early this morning placing the device near the door. Investigators are now working to identify that suspect. According to the Sheriff, that suspect could be in custody as early as today.
“We do have a couple of people of interest and hopefully we will have somebody in custody today,” Griffis said. “Hopefully he goes to jail for a long time.”
Griffis also expressed his thanks to the responding agencies for their help in keeping people safe.
“Thank God no body got hurt,” he said.
Local businesses around the courthouse have been allowed to open and Griffis said courthouse business should be able to resume around noon.
Around 9:45, OPD’s bomb squad attempted to “disrupt” the suspected pipe bomb to see what reaction the device would have. Witnesses in the area said they heard a “mini-explosion” at that same time.
Meanwhile, a drone was spotted flying overhead while crews continued to canvass the area and tried to clear the scene. According to area law enforcement, crews expect to remain on the scene at least until noon. Several streets have been blocked off around the courthouse and traffic on Grant has been congested throughout the morning. Drivers are asked to avoid the area if possible.
A news conference has been scheduled for 10:45, we will bring those updates to you as soon as they become available.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis has confirmed a suspected pipe bomb was found on the west side of the Ector County Courthouse Thursday morning.
A heavy police presence in the area was reported about 8:20 this morning. Griffis said the Odessa Police Department Bomb Squad, as well as a bomb detecting K-9 and handler from Ector County ISD were all on scene as of 8:45.
The scene was still quite active as of that time and drivers, pedestrians are asked to stay clear of the area.
This is a developing situation, we will update as more information becomes available.