Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg police arrest man in downtown bomb threat

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a homeless man Monday and accused him of leaving a duffel bag — which he said contained a bomb — at the Pinellas County Health Department's downtown office.

The building at 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N was evacuated for nearly four hours Monday until bomb squad technicians determined there were no explosives in the bag.

Later Monday, St. Petersburg police arrested Brian James Russell, 28, on a charge of making a bomb threat.

Police said a man left a black duffel bag near the health department's front door Monday morning. He told people in the area that the bag contained a bomb and that he wanted to commit suicide. Then he walked away.

Police were called about 9:45 a.m. The building was evacuated and traffic routed around the structure until the Tampa Bay Regional Bomb Squad determined there were no explosives at about 1:30 p.m. Identification inside the bag belonged to Russell, police said. Two witnesses also identified Russell as the man who left the bag, police said.

After the bag was left — but before Russell was identified as a suspect — he was arrested by Gulfport police on an unrelated charge. Gulfport police said Russell gave them a false name when they confronted him during a suspicious person call at 27th Avenue S and Tifton Street.

Gulfport police took him to the Pinellas County Jail. After identifying Russell as their suspect, St. Petersburg officers learned he was at the jail and the bomb threat charge was added against him.

He was being held at the Pinellas Jail Monday night, though bail information was not available.

Russell has been previously arrested on charges of drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and marijuana possession.

St. Petersburg police arrest man in downtown bomb threat 03/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2011 9:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says


    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale


    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]