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Vivint Smart Home Arena evacuated due to suspicious package, later found to be a toolbox

A Salt Lake City police officer stands guard in front of Vivint Smart Home Arena after the Utah Jazz's home had been evacuated because of a suspicious package following the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Most fans had already left the building when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave the arena following Utah's 113-109 victory. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Security personnel evacuated Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday night just minutes after the Utah Jazz defeated the Golden State Warriors.

At about 9:30 p.m. MT, a part-time uniformed SLCPD officer working at the game found a suspicious box underneath a table behind the El Chubasco restaurant located inside of Vivint Arena, according to Salt Lake City Police Lt. Carlos Valencia. A bomb-sniffing dog at the arena gave a “hit” signal on the box, which prompted the arrival of the bomb squad. After the box was X-rayed by the bomb squad, the box was found to contain standard tools, “wrenches, etc."

At 11:32 p.m., the bomb squad indicated that the box was safe, and allowed arena personnel to re-enter the building.

“We would like to thank fans for their attention and cooperation, as well as the Salt Lake City Police Department for their responsiveness and partnership,” the Jazz said in a statement after the incident.

Still, the evacuation gave those at the arena a scare. Beginning at about 9:45 p.m, remaining spectators, players and staff were all escorted outside the arena in downtown Salt Lake City. The evacuation took place after Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s post-game remarks, but before players had a chance to finish dressing or be interviewed by media.

Players from both teams, their families, and various personnel stayed in the players’ parking lot on the outside of the arena, on the opposite side of the building from El Chubasco. They remained there for about 15 minutes, until the entire arena block was evacuated.

A nearby shooting at The Complex concert center also contributed to fears.

Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and other Jazz players asked fans to stay safe while in downtown Salt Lake City.

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