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Woman detained after allegedly making bomb threat at downtown federal building

Woman detained after allegedly making bomb threat at downtown federal building
A woman made a bomb threat at the federal building in downtown Los Angeles, police say. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A woman claiming to have a bomb on the steps of the downtown Los Angeles federal building was detained after an hours-long standoff with police Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

About 11:03 a.m., the woman told authorities at the building in the 300 block of North Los Angeles Street that she had an explosive device in her backpack and what could be a trigger, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. The bomb squad and SWAT officers were dispatched to the scene.

No device was found, Smith said.

The building was evacuated and a five-block area including Los Angeles and Main streets was closed to traffic.

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At one point, a robot carrying a yellow suitcase slowly moved toward the woman and delivered a phone to her as she sat in front of the building's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entrance.

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The woman appeared to be agitated and was screaming and pointing at police. At one point, she pushed the phone away.

A little before 2 p.m., officers approached the woman with guns drawn, fired a bean-bag shotgun and took her into custody. She was later placed on a stretcher and taken away by an ambulance.

"After several hours we were forced to use less lethal munitions: a bean-bag shotgun," Smith said

The building houses ICE, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal offices.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA and @lacrimes.

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