A large police response was sent to the Old Courthouse Center, 101 North Johnson Street in downtown Woodstock, for a bomb and shooting threat. | Photo: Google Street View

Authorities are investigating a bomb and shooting threat at the Old Courthouse Center in downtown Woodstock Friday evening as a “swatting” call, which prompted evacuations and a large police response.

At 7:25 p.m. Friday, the Northeast Regional Communications Center (NERCOM) received a call from an unknown person with a male voice.

The caller said he was inside the Old Courthouse Center, 101 North Johnson Street in downtown Woodstock, with explosives and a firearm, Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said.

“The caller advised NERCOM that within a certain timeframe he was going to ignite the explosives and utilize his firearm against civilians located in the building,” Lieb said.

Woodstock police officers responded to the scene, created an action plan and entered the building with protective shields and rifles.

Occupants in the building were asked to evacuate, and they were “very cooperative and departed in an orderly manner,” Lieb said.

[Suggested Article]  Waukegan teacher charged in numerous kidnappings, armed robberies in Chicago

Officers conducted a thorough search of the building and did not locate a person or thing that was considered a threat to the occupants.

No one was physically injured during the evacuation, Lieb added.

Police are investigating the incident as a “swatting” call, which is a prank call to emergency services of a serious crime in an attempt to bring a large police response to a particular address.

“As such, we do not believe there is any immediate threat to the community at this time. An investigation has been initiated into identifying the perpetrator of this senseless crime,” Lieb said.

“Any suspect(s) identified during the investigation will be criminally charged to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The Woodstock community is strong, and we realize that we need to work together to keep Woodstock a safe place to live,” Lieb added.

[Suggested Article]  3 residents displaced after heavy flames engulf rear of house in Fox Lake

The Old Courthouse Center was built in 1857 and used to be the McHenry County Courthouse, sheriff’s house and jail, according to the non-profit organization Friends of the Old Courthouse.

The building has gone through renovations and now houses several commercial and retail spaces.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Woodstock Police Department’s Investigations Division at 815-338-2131.