SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities have deemed suspicious packages sent to the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Sunrise and her district office in Aventura to be safe, capping off a day of threats targeting Democratic officials and a TV news network.
A host of law enforcement agencies, including Sunrise Police, the FBI, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all responded to the office in Sunrise at 777 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway, Wednesday morning.
7News cameras captured a robot as it wheeled into the building.
Officials said the package was found at around 10:30 a.m.
“The package is inside the building. The bomb squad is tending to that,” said Sunrise Police Officer Chris Piper. “They’re in the process of making sure that it’s safe to be transported to the lab.”
Police evacuated the building, which was filled with City of Sunrise employees.
“It’s a building that has utilities and other agencies in it, as well as Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office,” said Piper. “I don’t know how many people were taken out, but everybody was removed safely and taken to a safer place.”
Police blocked off the entrance to the building for hours. The package was later detonated.
Wednesday afternoon, police responded to Wasserman Schultz’s office at the Aventura Government Center, located at 19200 W Country Club Drive, in reference to another package.
No other packages have shown up at the offices of other South Florida Congress members.
The packages come after Secret Service officers intercepted explosive devices sent to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and CNN’s New York Office, which had to be evacuated after receiving a suspicious package.
A source close to the investigation told 7News that the package delivered to the Sunrise office is connected to those in New York City and Washington, D.C.
However, Aventura Police tweeted out that the package delivered to their city “has no nexus to any of the other national incidents that occurred today.”
The package sent to Sunrise was not necessarily addressed to Wasserman Schultz. Like the manila envelope that was sent to CNN, it may have included her name as the sender, misspelled as “Shultz,” and the address of her Sunrise office.
The package sent to CNN was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, misspelled as “Brenan.”
Just before 4:30 p.m., authorities declared the Aventura package to be safe. Nearly two hours later, they gave the same update in Sunrise.
Police blocked off Country Club Drive, but the roadway has since reopened.
Wednesday night, when asked about the suspicious packages delivered to her offices, Wasserman Schultz replied, “No comment.”
But U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., did not mince any words when addressing the situation.
“This is terrorism … If you send an explosive device, potentially explosive device, trying to kill an American, it doesn’t matter if they’re Republican, Democrat, independent or whatever, that’s an attack on America,” he said.
Wednesday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz released a statement that read, “This morning my office in Sunrise, Florida was evacuated due to a suspicious package. In an abundance of caution, my office in Aventura, Florida was also evacuated. I have been in direct contact with the FBI and other law enforcement officials who are working tirelessly on this investigation, and I am grateful for their efforts to keep us safe. We are asking anyone with useful information to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.
We will not be intimidated by this attempted act of violence. This appalling attack on our democracy must be vigorously prosecuted, and I am deeply disturbed by the way my name was used. Today, my staff and I will hug each other and our loved ones tightly, and tomorrow get back to work serving the people I was elected to represent.”
“Whoever is behind this should know that, even if our politics, because we’re a free people, can appear to be vibrant and divisive, if you attack one of us, you’ve attacked all of us,” said Rubio.
FBI agents spent hours collecting evidence at Wasserman Schultz’s Sunrise office. The scene has since cleared.
Wednesday night, a law enforcement official said the bombs sent to prominent Democrats and CNN’s New York City office were packed with shards of glass but did not specify whether that was also the case with Wasserman Schultz’s package.
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