‘Suspicious backpack’ at Clay County Courthouse ruled safe: deputies

Courthouse in Green Cove Springs evacuated out of abundance of caution, deputies say

Sky 4 flies over the Clay County Courthouse on Tuesday. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.)

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A “suspicious backpack” at the Clay County Courthouse that led to evacuations and road closures Tuesday was deemed safe, authorities said.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the discovery of the backpack led to the evacuation of the courthouse in Green Cove Springs, as well as several surrounding homes and business, out of an abundance of caution.

The item also led to the closure of U.S. 17, according to Clay County Fire Rescue. The Sky 4 helicopter flew over the courthouse, and aerial footage showed that all roads around the courthouse were closed, with Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue units there.

The Green Cove Springs Police Department also responded, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office called for bomb technicians from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Clay County deputies said that the investigation revealed that the owner of the backpack had an appearance in court Tuesday and that he placed the backpack behind a newspaper stand because he had a prohibited item inside the backpack and did not want to bring it into the courthouse.

The JSO bomb squad retrieved the backpack and ruled that the contents inside were safe, according to Clay County deputies.