BOSTON — An hour after the federal courthouse here was evacuated, a man in a blue uniform emerged from it and waved a large green flag.
Gary Wente, a circuit executive at the John Joseph Moakley courthouse, came out to tell reporters that the courthouse had been secured.
“We had a bomb threat," Wente said. "The building has been cleared.”
Among those reentering were employees and jurors.
Earlier, law enforcement officers had sent young children from a day-care center, employees, jurors and private citizens out of the building. A large contingent of reporters was pushed away from the building during the evacuation. They had gathered to report on developments in the Boston Marathon bombing.
John Cunha, 63, a defense lawyer from Cambridge, was in the courthouse when the evacuation was announced over the public address system.
Security ushered people out, he said, and "everyone was very calm, just walking out the door; they were trying to hustle us out."
He said he spoke with law enforcement officers before he left. "I asked why and they wouldn't tell me."
Afterward, he waited in a nearby parking lot, hoping to return for a 4 p.m. defense lawyer training.
Keith Metters, 41, of Attleboro, works in finance and was driving to his office when he saw the crowd and stopped.
"This is pure spectacle for me; I want to see history," he said, expressing his hope that a suspect would be caught.
A man stood nearby in the parking lot playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, surprising the crowd. Some compared the crowd to one that gathered when legendary Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was arraigned in 2011. Bulger had been captured in Santa Monica after 16 years on the run.
"But you didn't have security like this," Cunha said.