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Radio glitch causes lockdown at Federal Courthouse

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Updated: 7/29/2013 6:36 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A radio glitch is to blame for a lockdown at the Federal Courthouse after members of the U.S. Marshals Service thought there may be an active shooter.

Action News has learned members of the Marshals Service in Jacksonville actually responded to an active shooter training in Brunswick, Georgia.

The good news it was only a false alarm. But what we wanted to know is why was scanner traffic from a facility 70 miles away getting picked up here?

The Federal Courthouse is on lockdown. It doesn't happen often but for about 30 minutes Monday, no one was allowed in or out.

"My ears perked up when you said the federal courthouse was locked down," said Rose Hartley.

Hartley often sits in the park across the way. She couldn't believe it when we filled her in.

According to the Jacksonville Branch of the U.S. Marshals Service, a contract employee overheard scanner traffic talking about an active shooter.

Not taking any chances, the U.S. Marshals locked the building down. In this statement sent to Action News from the U.S. Marshals Service, we were told it didn't take them long to realize it was actually a drill happening at the U.S. Marshals Training Academy in Brunswick, Georgia.

Somehow, the radio lines bled and officers here were catching parts of the conversation. Hartley said she is glad, false alarm or not, they sprang into action fast.

"It's a very good call," she said. "It's better to do something than have something happen."

Action News has learned because of the goof, the U.S. Marshals Office has already taken steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. The academy classes in Georgia will now use hand-to-hand radios, instead of the U.S. Marshals communication system to practice.

According to the U.S. Marshals Office in Jacksonville, these signals have been crossed in the past but never to this extent.

They hope the new hand-to-hand radios will fix the problem for good.

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