Calgary bomb unit clears suspicious item from courthouse

One man is in custody Wednesday night as police investigate a suspicious object that was removed from the Calgary Courts Centre.

Incident emptied buildings, shut down roads and transit in downtown for most of Wednesday morning

The Calgary police's bomb disposal unit removes a suspicious object from the Calgary Courts Centre. 0:21

One man is in custody Wednesday night as police investigate a suspicious object that was removed from the Calgary Courts Centre.

The courthouse was evacuated and several city blocks were cordoned off while bomb technicians dealt with the matter earlier in the morning.

Court disruption

This morning's investigation disrupted court appearances for many people who are now required to show up at 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

They are being asked to check the front display monitors to find out which courtroom they are required to attend.

Calgary Police Service's Kevin Brookwell said a tactical team was brought in to look at the suspicious object found by security during a screening around 9 a.m. MT.

A bomb disposal robot unit went into the courthouse just after 1 p.m. and removed the object.

"We'll have a look at it first a little closer in a safe environment and if necessary we'll disrupt it or render it safe in some form or another," said Brookwell.

The object was found in a man's bag while he was entering the courthouse, said Brookwell.

The man has been taken into custody and is being questioned.

"If there is any kind of device, whether a hoax or not, certainly we will consult with the Crown and we would determine what the most appropriate charge would be," said Brookwell. 

"[Possible charges] could be from public mischief to whatever depending on what that package is and what we get out of interviewing that person, which is ongoing as we speak," he said.

2nd scene investigated

Downtown traffic has returned to normal and the courts centre was reopened after evidence was collected, say police.

About six square blocks surrounding the court building were blocked off and about 250 people were ordered to leave the adjacent J.J. Bowlen Building, which houses RCMP offices.

Police had set up a command post nearby.

Police cordoned off the area around the Calgary Courts Centre, which was evacuated Wednesday morning. (Erin Collins/CBC)

C-Train service along Seventh Avenue was suspended but has since returned to normal service.

Police also investigated a secondary scene at Marlborough Mall in the city's northeast where the suspect's car is believed to be parked.

"A lot of unanswered questions — hope to get those questions answered as soon as we can," said Brookwell.

Brookwell said police always err on the side of caution when it comes to this type of situation.

"I would rather be considered for a massive overreaction when you have a suspicious package that even our tactical experts when they saw the photo went, 'Yah, this is concerning enough that we are going to take this action,'" he said.

"We did what we thought was right at the time and it ended up being nothing rather then something happening and saying, 'Why didn't you take the necessary precautions.'"