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Man arrested in connection with bomb threat that closed Florida state Capitol

James Call Karl Etters
Tallahassee Democrat

Tallahassee police arrested the man they say made a bomb threat early Thursday that closed the Florida Capitol.

Mark W. Clark, 61, had been arrested at the Apalachee Parkway bar The Corner Pocket overnight, police said. 

He was charged with making a false bomb threat in reference to a state owned property. He was released on $10,000 bail at about 11:30 a.m. and will appear before a Leon County judge Friday.

Mark W. Clark, 61, is charged with making a false bomb threat in connection with the closure of the Florida Capitol Thursday.

The specific threat Clark made has not yet been made public, and court records detailing his arrest had not yet been filed Thursday.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said a bomb threat was made about the Capitol overnight Wednesday into Thursday.

"Capitol Police were notified of a bomb threat before 3 a.m., and immediately began sweeping the Capitol and Capitol Complex," said an FDLE advisory, issued shortly after 7 a.m., that made no mention of the earlier arrest.  

No explosive or suspicious items were found, but authorities closed the building until 9 a.m. "out of an abundance of caution."

The Tallahassee Police Department said the arrest is the result of a collaborative effort between it, Capitol Police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

The threat comes the same week Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard at the request of Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey. Dailey acted on alerts from the FBI about possible attacks on state Capitol buildings around the inauguration of President Joe Biden, who took the oath of office Wednesday.

More:'Nothing happening here': No large protests or violence occurred at Florida Capitol Sunday

In the run-up to inauguration day, the Capitol complex was under visible heightened security with armed law enforcement walking regular patrols and keeping watch from rooftops.

Only a few protesters gathered on Inauguration Day. A small group of supporters of former President Donald Trump waved signs while two women dressed as angels sang "Amazing Grace" and held a cross that said, "Wake up America, Jesus is coming soon."

After President Joe Biden was sworn in Wednesday, Dailey at a news conference outside City Hall praised the response of local, federal and state law enforcement. He said city and county buildings would be reopened Thursday and return to "business as usual."

A quiet morning in the Florida Capitol courtyard on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Dailey said the Tallahassee Police Department is working closely with state and federal law enforcement to maintain the peace and continue with "threat assessment." 

"We are very fortunate that we have not had anything. In fact it is a beautiful day in Tallahassee as it has been all week," the mayor said. "Having said that, we will remain vigilant."

Previous stories: 11:45 a.m. Thursday update

Tallahassee Police arrested the man they say made a bomb threat that closed the Florida Capitol Thursday.

On Thursday, TPD responded to the Corner Pocket, a local bar on Apalachee Parkway, and arrested Mark W. Clark, 61.

He is charged with making a false bomb threat in reference to a state owned property. He was released on bail at about 11:30 a.m. and will appear before a Leon County judge Friday.

Original story

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said a bomb threat was made about the state Capitol overnight Thursday. Officers and K-9s have swept the building and no explosive or suspicious items have been found.

But in a tweet, FDLE said out of an abundance of caution, it has closed the Capitol until 9 a.m.

Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard at the request of Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey. Dailey acted on alerts from the FBI about possible attacks on state Capitol buildings around the inauguration of President Joe Biden. 

“We will stay vigilant as long we need to. We know that domestic terrorism is an issue we will face from this moment forward,” Dailey said at a news conference Jan. 17. 

In the run-up to inauguration day, the Capitol complex was under visible heightened security with armed law enforcement walking regular patrols and keeping watch from rooftops.

Only a few protesters gathered on Inauguration Day. A small group of supporters of former President Donald Trump waved signs while two women dressed as angels sang "Amazing Grace" and held a cross that said, "Wake up America, Jesus is coming soon."

Wednesday after President Joe Biden was sworn in, Dailey at a news conference outside City Hall praised the response of local, federal and state law enforcement. He said city and county buildings would be reopened Thursday and return to "business as usual."

Dailey said the Tallahassee Police Department is working closely with state and federal law enforcement to maintain the peace and continue with "threat assessment." 

"We are very fortunate that we have not had anything. In fact it is a beautiful day in Tallahassee as it has been all week," the mayor said. "Having said that, we will remain vigilant."

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