Update: Suspicious Item on Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge in Roanoke

Update: 5:45 p.m.:

Roanoke, VA - Roanoke Police had to call in the State Police bomb squad Thursday morning, after a suspicious item was spotted on the Martin Luther King Bridge downtown.

45 years ago, King was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis. And a memorial service for Dr. King was scheduled for that bridge.

The object was fastened to the metal supports on the bridge using zip ties and for many hours police had no clue what they were dealing with.

As the State Police robot takes a close look at some sort of object taped to the Martin Luther King Bridge, Toni Lynne Berry is busy cooking away at a nearby culinary school following police advice to stay inside.

"They just let everyone know to stay in the building and that there was something going on on the bridge that was rare and they wanted to check it out," said Toni Lynne Berry, VWCC Culinary School.

Outside it wasn't quite business as usual as an EOD expert suited up in a heavy suit, meant to try to protect him in the event of trouble.

"We have to treat everything (as if) there's something real in it until we can determine what the exact item is or what's in it," said Sgt. Jason Holt of Roanoke City Police.

Coincidentally or not, the device was found just hours before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was set to hold a memorial and prayer service for Dr. Martin Luther King, who was murdered 45-years ago to the day. The spot of concern was just 25 yards behind the statue of the slain leader. After several hours, it all came down to this.

And when the bomb tech was done on the bridge, the job moved beneath where we were asked not to video the procedure to render this object, which looks like an aluminum can, safe.

"If there's something unusual they have to look at it. If not everyone could be in danger around us," said Berry.

Investigators would later determine that the device was actually a homemade pinhole camera used for solography that was placed earlier and not at all associated with the King memorial that was scheduled.

Investigators are conferring with the Commonwealth's Attorney regarding potential charges because train traffic was disrupted during the incident.


Update: 1:30 p.m.:

State Police have removed the suspicious item from the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge in Roanoke, and the bridge and surrounding streets have reopened. They are still trying to determine what the suspicious item is.


Roanoke, VA - State Police are on the scene of a suspicious item at the Martin Luther King Bridge in Roanoke.

Police say there is a small item taped to a metal girder on the bridge.

The call came in shortly after 9:30 Thursday morning.

State Police do have a bomb squad robot prepared to investigate.

Henry Street and Center Avenue are currently closed.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Doctor King.

More on this on ABC 13 News as we get it.