Police quickly arrested the man they believe called in a bomb threat on the Boyle County Courthouse before his scheduled court appearance Tuesday morning.
Monty Bryant Jr., 46, of Aspen Drive in Danville was taken into custody for his involvement in what turned out to be a false bomb threat called in to the 911 center about 8:10 a.m. Tuesday. Bryant was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening.
Sheriff Marty Elliott said police have a second person of interest in the case and another arrest could be made pending the outcome of the investigation.
Bryant was on the district court docket for 9 a.m. on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and driving on a DUI-suspended license. He apparently watched the commotion caused by the threat from across the street.
Elliott said police were able to get an approximate location for where the 911 call came from with assistance from the phone company. He said strict criteria have to be met before cell phone providers will release information about customer calls, all of which were met by Tuesday’s scenario involving a bomb threat and a government building.
Elliott said he knew Bryant was a suspect when he saw him on a bench near Subway restaurant on Fourth Street about 9 a.m. The sheriff and other law enforcement officers questioned Bryant, asking to see his cell phone. Elliott didn’t immediately arrest Bryant, instead telling him he should stay close in case the building re-opened.
The cell phone Bryant had on him at the time wasn’t immediately confirmed as the one that made the 911 call, but Elliott said additional evidence gave authorities reason to question him further. Bryant was still at Subway when police took him into custody.
Other phones obtained through search warrants, as well as the recording of the 911 call, are being examined at the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crimes Lab in Frankfort.
The courthouse was evacuated soon after the call came in to 911. In a short conversation with a dispatcher, the caller, now believed to be Bryant, said an explosive device was programmed to detonate at 10 a.m.
Elliott said the call was likely related to Bryant’s scheduled court appearance. It wasn’t known whether the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks played any role.
“It was a bad day for a bad choice,”¿Elliott said, noting Bryant may have committed a serious felony in order to avoid a court appearance for a misdemeanor.
Bryant was arrested last month in Junction City on charges of DUI and driving with a suspended license. Court records show he also was indicted in 2009 for DUI, three counts of wanton endangerment, and fleeing and evading police in Danville and did time in jail after failing to meet the terms of his release.
Bryant is being held in the Boyle County Detention Center following his arrest Tuesday in the bomb scare. No bond has been set. He likely will be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday in district court.
Elliott said he has kept County Attorney Richard Campbell abreast of what happened with the investigation so far and will meet with him soon to determine whether any additional charges will be filed.
Following the bomb threat, authorities set up a perimeter around the courthouse, blocking portions of Third Street to vehicle traffic, and emptied the building. The evacuation disrupted a busy day at the facility.
A Boyle Fiscal Court meeting set for 10 a.m. was moved to 1 p.m. A full district court docket, including arraignments, scheduled for the morning was bumped to next Tuesday.
Employees were told to leave the courthouse but essentially asked to stay on standby, meaning workers were getting paid while the court and county offices were getting behind.
In addition to pushing the court schedule back, there were at least 15 no-shows to the afternoon session attributed to the evacuation. Elliott said those people will have to be re-notified of new court dates and new subpoenas may have to be issued and served.
The sheriff said the police and fire response alone was probably cost about $4,500 an hour.
“We’re not done dealing with what the cost of this is going to be,” Elliott said.