St. Louis Public Radio News
8:05 pm
Tue November 10, 2009

Jefferson City police: No one was taken hostage

Jefferson City, Mo. – Much of downtown Jefferson City was shut down today after authorities were alerted to a possible hostage situation inside an office building across the street from the Governor's Mansion.

Police spent about 90 minutes searching the Governor Office Building, but found nothing to indicate anyone had been taken hostage.

Amber Branch works in a law office near the building. She says she sent text messages to friends who were in the building as it was being searched, and they told her it was a false alarm.

"That's what they're hearing there at the building, all my friends, but nothing's confirmed," Branch said.

Jefferson City Police are NOT saying it was a false alarm. But they are investigating whether the person who initiated the alarm made an honest mistake.

Captain Doug Shoemaker is Operations Division Commander for the Jefferson City Police Department.

"We're looking into all the issues as to why and what right now, and trying to figure out where the origination came from, or the message came from itself," Shoemaker said.

Public Information Officer Michael Smith says they don't know why someone triggered an alarm system designed for hostage situations, but they do know that the system in place worked.

"The building initiated a lock-down, which went into effect...we were called, and a tactical entry was made into the building, and everyone was removed without injury or without any shots being fired," Smith said.

There had been rumors of shots fired and casualties, but Smith quickly dispelled those rumors.

About four blocks of downtown Jefferson City were shut down during lunch hour, and at least one restaurant owner said he lost thousands of dollars worth of business.