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Tucson police evacuate federal building over truck

TUCSON, Ariz (Reuters) - Authorities closed a three-block stretch of downtown Tucson and evacuated a nearby federal building on Wednesday after a suspicious vehicle was spotted by U.S. Marshals, police said.

A search of the vehicle, a white box truck, turned up several metal boxes of ammunition and duffel bags filled with clothing, Tucson police spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke told Reuters.

"There's no indication that there are any explosives inside the vehicle," Hawke said. "We're continuing our investigation, but there is no threat."

She said investigators were speaking to a "person of interest" about the truck and that the man was cooperating with investigators. He was not taken into custody.

Police later gave the all-clear and opened a major street to traffic, but kept part of the area roped off as they processed the vehicle for evidence.

A bomb squad was initially called to the scene at about 11 a.m. local time after U.S. Marshals noticed that it had been parked for an extended time near a building that houses federal bankruptcy court, Tucson police spokesman Matt Ronstadt said.

About 30 people were evacuated from that building.

The building is also about a mile away from a federal courthouse where a hearing was being held on the mental competency of Tucson mass shooting suspect Jared Loughner.

"The day's events involving Mr. Loughner are likely playing into the scale of the response," Ronstadt said. "We are taking all the necessary precautions."

Occupants of other buildings in the area were asked to stay inside and away from windows as a precaution, Ronstadt said.

Hawke said there was no indication that the incident was related to the court appearance by Loughner and the proceedings were not halted.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)