Deja vu: Another bomb scare, another evacuation at Clallam courthouse

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Police are continuing to investigate a bomb threat that prompted the evacuation of the Clallam County Courthouse, the second such incident in two weeks.

Brian Smith, deputy police chief, said that investigators had no new information as of Saturday.

Smith said anyone with information about the bomb threat is asked to phone police at 360-452-4545.

Dispatchers received a 9-1-1 emergency call at 9:45 a.m. Friday about a bomb possibly being in the courthouse.

The unidentified caller reportedly said: “I heard there was a bomb in the courthouse.”

“We're working on identifying the caller,” Smith said.

Smith said Friday that police traced the call to a payphone in the Rite Aid and Goodwill plaza along Lincoln Street, not far south from the courthouse at 223 E. Fourth St.

Brief evacuation

The courthouse was evacuated for about 30 minutes while the building was checked, said Sgt. John Keegan with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

No explosive devices were found, Keegan said.

Per a county policy currently under review, he said, a courthouse security officer pulled the fire alarm following the call.

Keegan said the officer likely did not know the policy was not yet in effect.

Pleading in bomb threat

The call came about 20 minutes after Anthony James Deason, 43, of Port Angeles appeared in Clallam County Superior Court before Judge Christopher Melly and pleaded not guilty to charges related to a bomb threat that cleared the courthouse and Armory Square Mall on First Street for hours March 28.

Deason and Steven Alan Fortman Sr., 49, were arrested in the March 28 bomb threat, which Fortman allegedly made at Deason's request, according to police.

Deason, who remained in the Clallam County jail Saturday on $50,000 bail, was charged April 7 with one count of solicitation to threats to bomb or injure, a class C felony.

Police arrested Deason on April 1 and Fortman on March 29.

Fortman also remained in county jail Saturday on $250,000 bail.

Fortman was charged April 2 with two counts of threats to bomb or injure property and one count each of possession of methadone and possession of methamphetamine.

He is set to be arraigned this Friday.

Police account

Police reports gave the following account:

Fortman called 9-1-1 at about 2 p.m. March 28 to report that bombs were set to go off at the courthouse and Armory Square Mall.

He used a cellphone Deason gave him money to buy.

Both buildings were evacuated, and no bombs were found.

Fortman told police after he was arrested that Deason asked him to make the threat because Deason had a court date he would not make.

Deason was arrested at Jessie Webster Park in Port Angeles.

Police said Deason initially denied any knowledge of the threat but eventually told them he asked Fortman to do it.

Deason told police he did not think Fortman would actually make the call, adding that he jokingly told Fortman it would be “fun” to call and make a bomb threat.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 12. 2014 6:38PM
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