Law enforcement officials are leaving the scene of what was earlier deemed a potential hostage situation. Now, officials confirm that a call received by the Jefferson City Police Dept. was a false alarm. A press conference will be held at 4 p.m. to provide more information.
Dan Joyce, director of administration for Public Service Commission, said "everyone was calm" during the lockdown and subsequent evacuation of the building.
Update: 1:48 p.m.
Police in Jefferson City confirm no hostage has been found yet in a preliminary search of the Governor Office Building. The building is now being searched floor-by-floor as a precaution.
Employees working in the building have been safely evacuated.
The situation began with unconfirmed reports of a hostage and gunfire in government offices in Jefferson City on Tuesday. Police later said no hostage situation could be confirmed.
Just after 10 a.m., a woman placed a call from 200 Madison St. to an alarm company, Sonitrol, reporting a hostage situation in her building across from the Governor's Mansion. The alarm company then alerted the Jefferson City Police Department, officials say.
The building, a former hotel called the Governor Office Building, is not a state building but leases offices to the state government. The call to Sonitrol was made from the offices of the Missouri Public Services Commission, which manages utilities in the state.
The call to Sonitrol was prompted when a woman reported to an administrator that an announcement about a hostage situation had been made on an intercom in the building, according to an employee for the Public Services Commission. The administrator contacted Sonitrol to ask about the situation and the alarm company then contacted police.
Vincent Parker, a monitoring center manager at Sonitrol, said he received a call coming from a female in the Governor Office Building about 10 a.m. on Tuesday. He would not give her name, but he said that she heard an announcement on the PA system about a possible hostage in the building.
Parker immediately called police. “It couldn’t have been more than 30 seconds after the call,” he said.
Sonitrol is a security system company with an office in Jefferson City. Parker said calls will come to anyone in the office, and if other lines are busy, calls will go to his office as well.
Police, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Jefferson City Fire Department and two SWAT teams responded to the call and were at the scene by about 10:30 a.m.
According to Dan Joyce, the director of administration for the Public Services Commission, approximately 190 staff members work in the building. As the building was locked down, Joyce, who was on the eighth floor, says "everyone remained calm."