U.S.|Capitol Police Investigate ‘Bomb Threat’ Near Library of Congress
The constabulary closed disconnected respective streets and sent alerts to legislature unit members, prompting evacuations.
Aug. 19, 2021Updated 11:56 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The United States Capitol Police were investigating a “suspicious vehicle” extracurricular the Library of Congress connected Thursday, telling radical to debar the area.
In alerts to Capitol Hill unit members, the constabulary urged immoderate radical to determination wrong offices, fastener doors and enactment distant from windows, and told others to evacuate to designated assembly areas.
A antheral successful the conveyance claimed to person a bomb, according to a instrumentality enforcement official. It was unclear whether helium did really person explosives.
The Metropolitan Police Department was “assisting with the study of an progressive weaponry menace involving a suspicious vehicle,” and “currently evacuating the area,” according to a spokeswoman, Alaina Gertz.
The Capitol Police declined to supply details astir the probe and referred questions to the agency’s Twitter account, which urged radical to enactment distant from the area.
With lawmakers scattered crossed the state for a scheduled August recess, astir legislature unit were not connected Capitol Hill erstwhile overmuch of the analyzable went into lockdown. Many of the evacuated employees enactment for the Architect of the Capitol staff, gathering employees and workers helping with construction. And portion thousands of radical typically enactment successful each bureau building, the pandemic has constricted however galore radical were inside.
The Supreme Court gathering was evacuated soon aft 10 a.m., said Patricia McCabe, a spokeswoman.
As the constabulary investigated, they unopen down respective adjacent streets astir the 100 artifact of First Street SE. Technicians from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the officers astatine the scene.
Just earlier 11 a.m., dozens of radical flooded retired of the Madison building, having been told by officers wrong to permission the building.
“Everybody caput southbound now,” a Capitol Police serviceman said arsenic different officers ushered operation workers distant from enactment successful the roadworthy and asked diners extracurricular a cafe to permission their tables.
Ultimately overmuch of the crowd, immoderate carrying laptops and tangled handfuls of charging cords and headphones, ended up successful a parkland adjacent the building, calling household members and figuring retired however to get home.
The menace unsettled visitors and employees astatine the Capitol, 8 months aft a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Hill connected Jan. 6, successful a convulsive effort to forestall Congress from certifying the results of the statesmanlike election.
After the Jan. 6 riot and the decease of a Capitol Hill serviceman successful aboriginal April, adjacent the precautionary steps to analyse suspicious packages person go much aggravated for unit connected the Hill, amid heightened information precautions.
Employees successful the Madison gathering were notified of the imaginable menace done alerts, earlier officials came implicit the gathering intercom to permission the building.
Once connected the street, employees were told to spell location oregon caput distant from the complex, though immoderate could not scope their cars and the nearest Metro halt appeared closed.
“They’re conscionable being cautious — they don’t privation to instrumentality chances,” said Paul Hines, a gathering services worker evacuated from Madison. Mr. Hines, livestreaming a quality study connected his phone, had near his telephone charger, his luncheon and astir of his belongings inside.
“Wasn’t expecting this,” helium added. “I was astir to devour my lunch.”
Adam Goldman, Glenn Thrush and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.