|Governor Evacuates State
House, Declares State of Emergency
By Christopher Sherman
Capital News Service
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001; Web-posted 8:35 p.m. and
updated at 10:05 p.m.
This updates the 8:35 p.m. version of this
story to note that the State House threat was a hoax. It also adds details on
an arrest for the hoax and corrects the number of Maryland facilities said to
be on the alleged "terrorist list."
ANNAPOLIS - The historic State House was evacuated just after
noon Tuesday when Gov. Parris N. Glendening's office received a threat that the state complex was one of three facilities in Maryland on a terrorist list.
The threat -- that the State House, the World Trade Center in Baltimore
and Andrews Air Force Base appeared on a list of 11 targets sent to a federal
agency in the past few days -- turned out to be a hoax. A Baltimore man was
arrested at his home Tuesday night by state police and FBI agents and charged
with one count of making a false report of a crime.
By the time the State House was evacuated, a Maryland state of
emergency had already been declared in the wake of attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia.
| Baltimore's World Trade Center was
several state buildings closed after Tuesday's attack.
(Photo by Kim Harris)
The state of emergency reduced personnel at all state agencies to
essential staff, gave local school boards authority to close schools at their
discretion and placed the National Guard on standby.
Maryland government continued from the State Emergency Operations Center
in Reisterstown, where the governor convened his Cabinet and determined the
state's response to the nearby terror.
The state of emergency declaration allows the governor to free state
resources, said Quentin Banks, information officer at the Maryland Emergency
The Maryland National Guard's military police unit was federalized,
putting it under the control of the Department of Defense. It is awaiting orders
The hospital ship, USS Comfort, docked in Baltimore, was sent to Norfolk,
to stock medical supplies before heading to New York to participate in the
About 100 people from the Montgomery County Urban Search and Rescue
unit joined three other search and rescue teams dispatched to the Pentagon. The
county unit had also participated in the Oklahoma City bombing recovery operations.
Montgomery County members of the National Medical Response Team also
responded to the Pentagon.
Downtown Annapolis was ordered shut down by midday; the U.S. Naval
Academy raised its threat condition three times throughout the morning.
Quiet streets replaced normally bustling lunchtime activity in downtown
Annapolis, where shopkeepers were more concerned about the attacks than about losing the afternoon's business. "Business we can do another time," said Joyce Kaminkow, owner of Annapolis Country Store.
Jammed phone lines were one indicator that people had more important
things on their minds. "Everyone is trying to reach their loved ones," said Brenda Raney, a Verizon spokeswoman, who compared Tuesday's call volume to Mother's Day.
"All of our networks on the East Coast are experiencing unprecedented call
volume, and that means it takes longer for everyone to get through," Raney said.
In Baltimore, the local FBI was mobilized, but at least one agent shared
the general public's shock. "We're all watching
television...in total disbelief," said Special Agent Peter
Gulotta, an FBI spokesman.
Tuesday afternoon, Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant
in Southern Maryland was at full power. "We've taken appropriate actions to ensure the continued safety of Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant,"
said spokesman Karl Neddenien.
Glendening was just arriving at the Renaissance Hotel in Baltimore to give
remarks at a state roundtable when he heard of the first attack in New York
City. After finishing his remarks and hearing of the attack on the Pentagon he
left for Annapolis, where he spent the morning meeting with advisers.
Just before noon, as the governor was preparing for a television interview
in the House of Delegates Chamber, the building was swiftly evacuated.
Glendening spoke to the press minutes later across the street from the
State House in a grassy area known as Lawyers' Mall.
"It's both complex and confusing right now," the governor said, urging
Marylanders to remain calm.
Glendening spoke with New York Gov. George Pataki
(R), Virginia Gov. Jim
Gilmore (R) and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams (D), offering any assistance he could provide.
A spokeswoman said Glendening planned to spend the night at Government
House, the governor's mansion.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, state police and FBI agents arrested Quentin
L. Johnson, 22, of Baltimore, and charged him with making the false report that
Annapolis was on a terrorist target list.
Police said Johnson, who had briefly served in the military, called the
State Emergency Operations Center about 11 a.m. and claimed to be a former
federal official who had seen reports of a possible terrorist attack Tuesday,
with the three Maryland sites listed as potential targets.
Authorities took the call seriously at the time, but later tracked it to
Johnson, who they said was questioned at his home for about 90 minutes and
confessed to the hoax around 7:15 p.m.
Officials said they do not know of a motive for the hoax. Johnson faces a
misdemeanor charge of making a false report of a crime.
CNS staff writers Carolyn Taschner
and Kristyn Peck contributed to this
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