HARTFORD, Conn. – Forty-five state courthouses across Connecticut were evacuated Friday because of a bomb threat, after the governor's office received a number of ominous phone calls. Bomb squads were activated and trials were suddenly put on hold.
Connecticut state police said several calls were phoned in Friday morning to Gov. M. Jodi Rell's constituent office. The first one, which came in at approximately 9:30 a.m. and was answered by a Rell staffer, was a non-specified bomb threat against a state judicial courthouse, according to police and the governor's office.
Additional threats were made shortly thereafter against judicial courthouses and state facilities, police said.
In response, state police evacuated all of the state's 45 judicial court buildings and were searching them Friday. Connecticut's judicial branch has 83 facilities; 45 include courtrooms.
"All we know right now is there was a bomb threat," said Wayne Sandford, deputy homeland security commissioner. "We're trying to get information on it as we speak."
A U.S. official familiar with the situation told FOX News that the calls included threats of bombs going off at 2 p.m. EST. Two o'clock came and went without reported incident Friday.
The official told FOX the calls were likely put in by the same person, though that wasn't known for sure. Police were trying to track down whether the threats were credible and who made them.
A counterterrorism official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press that the caller threatened to detonate bombs at 2 p.m. at state courthouses in New London, Danielson, Danbury, Middletown, Manchester and New Britain.
Local and state police bomb squads were notified about 11:30 a.m. that state police were requesting a sweep of state courthouses.
The bomb threat and subsequent evacuations abruptly interrupted trials while sending judges, lawyers and people with routine court business into the streets.
"They were very nonchalant, very smooth," said Madeline Hunt, who was in the Hartford Superior Court building attending her son's court appearance. "'OK,' they said. 'Everyone's got to leave.' There was no panic, no nothing."
U.S. Marshal John Bardelli said bomb squads were sweeping federal courts in Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford but those courthouses remained open.
Gary Dorsey, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal in Connecticut, told FOX News that the marshal service took steps to verify there was no need to close any federal courthouses in the state — so no federal buildings were shut down nor were any under threat. Only state courthouses were closed as a result of the calls, he said.
The threat prompted a criminal investigation by the Connecticut State Police Detectives.
Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly said he was in Rockville Superior Court when it was evacuated and he got word that the Waterbury courthouse had been evacuated as well.
Defense attorney William Gerace was in the Danielson Superior Court for pretrial conferences when it was evacuated.
"At first they told us we'd be back in momentarily," he said. "Then we heard a rumor there was a bomb threat. I started looking at my clients suspiciously, but they all swore they didn't do it. We all stood around outside in the cold for an hour and a half."
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.