The threat was phoned in while anchor Don Lemon was live on air, resulting in the show to break abruptly. New York Police Department cleared the surrounding blocks and warned the general public to avoid the area, after responding to the incident at about 10:45 p.m.
The NYPD cleared CNN employees to return to the offices about two hours after the bomb threat, which was called in at 9:47 PM. The caller suggested that there were five devices in the building. Multiple members of staff had taken to social media to inform the public of the incident.
"The NYPD is investigating a bomb threat near CNN NYC's office at Columbus Circle," CNN anchor Brian Stelter wrote on his twitter. "Due to the threat, the office has been evacuated. Right now CNN is airing taped programming due to the disruption."
We were evacuated in the middle of my live show. Bomb threat. We’re running taped programming. NYPD is investigating. Stay tuned. #cnn#nypd
Everyone evac’d and is reported fine. Have to put safety first. Thanks for all the well-wishing, but even more so for not making stupid jokes empowering such a threat. People will re-enter ASAP. Onward. https://t.co/Lrm3TmFjuT
Late October the offices were similarly evacuated after a suspicious package was mailed to the location. CNN was among several places and people who experienced scares.
Explosive devices were found among mail addressed to Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as the office of former U.S. President Barack Obama. Additionally, suspicious packages were sent to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert De Niro.
Cesar Sayoc was arrested, in relation to the incidents, on Oct. 27 and later indicted on over 30 charges; he faces some 50 years in prison, if convicted.