On Monday, November 9, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigated a suspicious package at the main entrance of the Columbia County Courthouse prompting an evacuation of the facility.
The incident began as deputies working courthouse security learned that a man had left a package at the main entry of the courthouse and walked away. Emergency procedures were initiated and out of an abundance of caution, the courthouse was evacuated and a perimeter was set. Video cameras showed a black male in his 40’s placing a blue container near the top steps, looking up into the camera then walking away.
Patrol units located Tarrance Nichols, 43 of Lake City south of the courthouse. Witnesses identified Nichols as the subject that placed the container and he was detained. Detectives interviewed Nichols and he admitted placing the container to cause “distress”.
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad responded and determined that the container was safe. The blue plastic container was empty.
Tarrance Nichols was arrested and charged with placing a hoax destructive device. Nichols was booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility with no bond.