Davis library receives 3 bomb threats with anti-LGBTQ speech, deputies say. FBI investigates

The Mary L. Stephens Library in Davis, part of the Yolo County Library system.

A Sacramento-area library was evacuated Monday morning and a nearby elementary school and high school sheltered in place after law enforcement was notified of a bomb threat containing anti-LGBTQ hate speech, authorities said. It was the third threat against the library in the past week, police and deputies said.

The latest threat targeted Mary L. Stephens Davis Library on East 14th Street and was reported to police around 10 a.m., according to Davis Police Department spokesman Lt. Dan Beckwith. Officers were conducting a sweep to determine if the threat was credible as of 11 a.m. Monday. Authorities issued an all-clear roughly 20 minutes later.

Much like the first reported bomb threat made to the library on Aug. 21, Monday’s threat came in an email containing hate speech, police said. The second threat was made late Friday.

In updates posted Monday afternoon to social media, Beckwith and Yolo County sheriff’s officials said the library has received three total threats since Aug. 20, the date of what deputies in a Facebook post called a “heated meeting held at the library,” and that the threats contain similar messages that “revolve around the mentioned meeting.”

“It seems likely that these events are related,” Beckwith said Monday of the threats. “They are similar in nature.”

Yolo County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Don Harmon said that the motive behind Monday morning’s bomb threat, and the email’s language were the same as last week’s. Both emails were sent to KTXL-TV, known as Fox 40, authorities said.

Harmon said previously that the Aug. 21 threat “contained offensive language directed towards the LGBT+ community.”

The FBI is involved in investigating the incident, Harmon said, because, using a virtual private network (VPN), the email could have been sent from anywhere.

The first threat came after an incident at the library in which dozens of people, including protesters, attended a forum on “Fair and Safe Sports for Girls” hosted by the Yolo County chapter of Moms for Liberty. A library official reportedly told a speaker at the event to leave the library after the speaker referred to transgender female youth athletes as “biological males.”

The library was closed Sunday due to a staffing shortage caused by COVID-19, library officials announced in a social media post. A family movie event scheduled for the day was canceled as a result.

North Davis Elementary School, just east of the library, entered a shelter-in-place order shortly after Monday’s bomb threat was reported, Beckwith said. Davis Senior High also sheltered in place mid-Monday morning, according to the Davis Joint Unified School District website. Both have been lifted, the district said in social media posts.

Beckwith said the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office took over command of the incident because the library is a county building, but his department first responds because the library is within Davis city limits.

The Bee’s Shaanth Kodialam contributed to this story.