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FBI, Charleston police investigate letters, vandalism to monumen - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

FBI, Charleston police investigate letters, vandalism to monuments, bomb threats during trials

Source: Live 5 Source: Live 5
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The FBI and Charleston police are investigating additional letters referencing racial violence in the city of Charleston, vandalism to a Marion Square monument and several bomb threats.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Charleston Police Department said Monday they were conducting a joint investigation into nine letters received at different times in October by several hotels, Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the James Island County Park.

The latest letter was received by employees of an inn on Tuesday, according to Municipal Emergency Operations Center Detective Doug Galluccio. That brings the total number of letters being investigated to 12.

The majority of the letters were reported to police between Nov. 1 and last Friday, City of Charleston spokesperson Cameron Wolfsen said.

The letters were all mailed from a location outside the United States, investigators say.

Law enforcement officials always take these situations seriously and are working to identify the individual or individuals responsible for the letters, according to a statement from the City. 

Investigators have not yet developed information that identifies a particular person who may have mailed the letter or any specific, credible threats. 

Wolfsen said law enforcement will respond accordingly to address any threat posed to the community should additional information be developed.

Marion Square monument vandalized

Charleston police are investigating the vandalism of the Wade Hampton monument in Marion Square.

City employees discovered at approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday someone had used a black permanent marker to vandalize the monument.

Anyone with information is asked to call Consolidated Dispatch at 843-743-7200.

Bomb threats received on Election Day

Authorities say they received four bomb threats at the Charleston County Judicial Center on Tuesday. That facility includes the Ninth Circuit Solicitor's Office and the Charleston County Courthouse.

Law enforcement officers searched the buildings and deemed them safe, Galluccio said. None of the buildings was evacuated. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the threats.

The Charleston Police Department Explosives Team responded to the area of Meeting and Broad Streets to investigate a suspicious toolbox. The toolbox had been discarded in a trash can near City Hall, Galluccio said, and was found to be empty. 

Authorities staying prepared during high-profile trials

City, state and federal agencies have been working together to coordinate security at the city's Municipal Emergency Operation Center since the start last week of the state trial against Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott, who fled a traffic stop.

Mother Emanuel AME Church was the location of the June 17, 2015, shooting in which nine parishioners were gunned down during a Bible study. Jury selection in the trial of the accused gunman, Dylann Roof, was to have begun Monday morning but that was abruptly put on hold because of a last-minute motion that prompted a closed-door hearing.

In the meantime, in addition to security plans for the ongoing trials, high visibility patrols and officer Walk and Talks will be occurring regularly throughout the city, Wolfsen said. 

Law enforcement officials are asking anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to call 911 immediately.

The Charleston Police Department released the following statement: 

The City of Charleston’s Municipal Emergency Operation Center (MEOC) remained open today during the Slager and Roof trials for the City of Charleston, Charleston County, state and federal partners to manage events surrounding the trials and ensure lines of communications between law enforcement agencies and the community.. 

The City of Charleston Police Department Explosive Devices Team responded to the area of Meeting and Broad Streets in reference to a suspicious toolbox that was discarded in a trash can near City Hall. The toolbox was found to be empty. There were no street closures related to this incident or either trial.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Charleston Police Department are now conducting a joint investigation into twelve letters referencing racial violence in the City of Charleston, after a letter  was received by the Vendue Inn located at 19 Vendue Range on November 8th. Twelve such letters were received by several hotels, Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the James Island County Park at different times in October. The majority of those letters were reported to police between November 1 and November 4, 2016.  All the letters were mailed from a location outside the United States.

Law enforcement officials always take these situations seriously and are working to identify the individual or individuals responsible for the letters.  Investigators have not developed information that identifies a particular person who may have mailed the letter or any specific, credible threats.  Should additional information be developed, law enforcement will respond accordingly to address any threat posed to the community.  In the meantime, in addition to security plans for the ongoing trials, high visibility patrols and officer Walk and Talks will be occurring regularly throughout the city. 

Law enforcement officials at the local, state, and federal levels are working collectively during this time of heightened awareness in the Charleston area.  They are asking that anyone who sees or hears anything they feel is suspicious or concerning to dial 911 immediately and alert law enforcement.  Security is everyone’s responsibility and we need all citizens to be alert and active participants, especially during this time.  

Questions concerning this matter may be referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Charleston Police Department.

The Charleston Police Department is investigating the vandalism of the Wade Hampton monument in Marion Square. The vandalism was discovered by city employees at 8:00 a.m. on November 8th. Someone used a black permanent marker to vandalize the monument. Anyone with information about this incident can call Consolidated Dispatch at 843 743 7200 and ask for the on duty CPD detective. 

The Charleston County Judicial Center, which includes the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the Charleston County Courthouse, received four bomb threats on November 8th. Law Enforcement searched the buildings and they were deemed safe. None of the buildings were evacuated. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the threats and anyone with information can call Consolidated Dispatch at 843 743 7200.

The City of Charleston Citizen Information line (843-973-7219) is active for citizens who have questions about how the public realm—parking, traffic, etc.—may be affected by events related to the trial.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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