Suspicious Package At Santa Ana Courthouse Injures Four

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Four people, including an Orange County sheriff's deputy, were stricken today by the contents of a suspicious package opened at the Central Justice Center courthouse in Santa Ana, officials said. 

The package was opened about 2:30 p.m. near the Dept. C63 courtroom on the third floor, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said. Two of the four people exposed to the contents of the cardboard box were hospitalized and the other two were released after paramedics treated them, Kurtz said. The victims taken to a hospital included the deputy and a woman who worked in the courtroom, both of whom are in their 50s, Kurtz said. 

The Family Law courtroom considers divorce and custody hearings. Orange County Superior Court Judge Claudia Silbar was not there at the time and the court was not in session, court spokesman Kostas Kalaitzidis said. Authorities roped off a portion of the third floor near the courtroom while hazardous materials and bomb squad investigators analyzed the package, Kurtz said. The courthouse did not need to be evacuated, Kurtz said. 

The incident had a ``minimal'' impact on courtroom business, Kalaitzidis said. As business in neighboring courtrooms concluded, the doors were locked and the wing was blocked off, he added. 

The contents of the box were taken to an Orange County Sheriff's Department laboratory to be tested, Kurtz said.

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