News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Michigan Capitol evacuated over 'hoax threat'

Outside Michigan Capitol
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public Radio Network
The Michigan State Capitol Commission received an email threat Wednesday, prompting the building to close for the day. According to the FBI, there was no specific or credible risk against the Capitol in Lansing or at other locations.

The Michigan Capitol building was shut down Wednesday as state and federal law enforcement investigated a threat directed at the site.

The Michigan State Police confirmed the State Capitol Commission received an emailed bomb threat at 7:45 a.m..

Despite an evacuation order, the Capitol’s front entrance remained open to members of the public until around 11:30 a.m. State police locked the wooden doors on the first floor after WKAR entered the building to speak with officials.

MSP cleared the building after conducting canine sweeps and determining there was no threat. The Michigan Capitol was one of at least four state capitols that received bomb threats Wednesday morning.

“We are aware of similar threats sent to government agencies across the country,” MSP said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Capitols in Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi were also evacuated. Federal law enforcement is investigating the incidents.

“The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” said Gabrielle Szlenkier of the FBI Detroit office.

“While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”

William Kandler, chair of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, said security concerns have increasingly been a focal point for building officials.

“We realized that the level of politically-related violence around the country has just been growing and growing. And this being an election year, we knew the possibilities of these kinds of things happening,” Kandler said.

“I was hoping it would be later in the year than January 3rd.”

Last year, the Capitol banned most possession of firearms inside the building and installed weapon detectors at its entrances. Commissioners banned the open carry of firearms in 2021 in the days following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The decision came less than a year after protestors and militia members, many armed with rifles, entered Michigan’s Capitol to protest the state’s COVID-19 restriction orders.

The Capitol’s closure disrupted plans for one visiting family from Grand Rapids.

“I thought it was interesting just to see the Capitol,” said Steve Decristobal Mejia. The 11-year-old came to Lansing with his younger brother and mother because of his interest in U.S. history.

“It looks really nice and it kind of reminds me of the White House.”

Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta contributed to this report.

Eli Newman is assistant news director and editor. He works with the WKAR news and digital content teams to facilitate the creation of meaningful and thought-provoking multimedia news content for WKAR Public Media.