About 650 Texas judges were evacuated from a judicial conference on Friday, after security personnel found a note that referenced "getting revenge," says Mark Atkinson, executive director of the Texas Center for the Judiciary.
The evacuation happened within the last hour and a half of the final day of the center's annual judicial conference in San Antonio, he says.
"This is the big one, where we bring all the judges together. This one, it was the largest group we've ever had in history," Atkinson says, noting it's the 40th anniversary of the Texas Center for the Judiciary.
The center hired several San Antonio police officers to provide security at the event. In a room directly under the conference room, where the judges were hearing about civil law updates, the security officers found a handwritten, four-stanza poem.
Atkinson says he didn't copy the note, but from his memory, the poem discussed getting revenge for what "you" did to my "kin," and said, "We'll do you in . . . beneath where you sit."
He says he interrupted the session and asked all the judges to evacuate while the San Antonio Police Department searched the room. About 30 minutes later, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office did a K9 sweep. They never found any bomb or the author of the note.
Atkinson says it's somewhat common for judges to receive threats, and they all cooperated with the evacuation.
"The judges are used to the routine, but we still thought we should be cautious, because the note was kind of spooky," he explains.