Democratic mayoral candidate Bob Brady received a cell-phone call threatening his life just before he took part in last night's debate.

The call came around 6 p.m., just as Brady was entering the National Constitution Center, said his campaign spokeswoman Kate Philips. Though the caller reportedly threatened to kill him, Brady thought it a hoax, she said.

Nonetheless, at his staff's urging, Brady, a congressman, reported the threat to Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, who in turn alerted Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, Philips said.

Ross responded to the Convention Center, and the debate went on without incident and under increased police presence. Police escorted Brady out of the building afterward.

Later, in an interview with 6ABC News, Brady characterized the caller as "a coward" and added: "Cowards don't bother me."

Neither Johnson nor Ross could be reached for comment last night. A spokesman for the department said an investigation by the Major Crimes unit continues. "We have no leads at this time," said Sgt. D.F. Pace of public affairs.