Deputies exposed to chemical

Investigators determine it's pepper spray

UPDATE: Investigators determined the chemical which deputies were exposed to was pepper spray.

The three deputies who were exposed were transported to St. Mary's Medical Center as a precaution.

The first floor of the courthouse and street near have reopened.

Reported by: Ro Norman/WPTV


WEST PALM BEACH — Three Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies were injured this afternoon when they opened an amnesty box at the county courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach and were hit with an "unknown chemical."

Eric Davis, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, said the deputies were clearing the box when they were "overcome by some type of chemical." Preliminary reports said it was pepper spray, but Davis says that is uncertain. All three deputies have been taken to St. Mary's Medical Center for observation, Davis said.

West Palm Beach Police evacuated the first floor of the courthouse just after 12:30 p.m. after jurors and court workers reported smelling fumes and feeling nauseous.

A few other people reported having headaches.

No one was being allowed to enter the courthouse and elevators in the building were shut down.

Amnesty boxes allow people to drop off illegal items such as drugs and weapons without facing arrest.

Quadrille Boulevard and North Dixie Highway have been shut down between 3rd Street and Banyan Boulevard to make way for rescue crews.