Capitol Police investigate bomb threat near Library of Congress

August 20, 2021

After a standoff of nearly four hours, the United States Capitol Police continued negotiating at 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 19, with a man who claimed to have a bomb in a black pickup truck he had parked outside the Library of Congress—prompting evacuations from government buildings in the area, The New York Times reports.

The man drove the black pickup onto the sidewalk of the Library of Congress at about 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, and the police responded to a disturbance call, Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Capitol Police said in a news conference.

When the police arrived, the man said he had a bomb and one of the officers observed what appeared to be a detonator in his hand, Chief Manger said.

The police are negotiating with the man, he said. It was unclear whether the man actually did have explosives.

“We don’t know what his motives are at this time,” Chief Manger said. He confirmed that some of those negotiations had been streamed live on social media, and said the police have “a possible name” for the person.

“We’re trying to get as much information as we can to try to find a way to peacefully resolve this,” he said. Chief Manger declined to describe the conversation between the man and the negotiators.

The man, whom officials identified as a North Carolina resident, was making anti-government statements, according to a law enforcement official.

In alerts to Capitol Hill staff members earlier Thursday, the police urged some people to move inside offices, lock doors, and stay away from windows; and told others to evacuate to designated assembly areas.

The Metropolitan Police Department was “assisting with the report of an active bomb threat involving a suspicious vehicle,” and “currently evacuating the area,” according to a spokesperson, Alaina Gertz.

The Capitol Police declined to provide details about the investigation and referred questions to the agency’s Twitter account, which urged people to stay away from the area.

With lawmakers scattered across the country for a scheduled August recess, most congressional staff were not on Capitol Hill when much of the complex went into lockdown. Many of the evacuated employees work for the Architect of the Capitol staff, building employees and workers helping with construction. And while thousands of people typically work in each office building, the pandemic has limited how many people were inside.

The Supreme Court building was evacuated shortly after 10 a.m., said Patricia McCabe, a spokesperson.

As the police investigated, they shut down several nearby streets around the 100 block of First Street SE. Technicians from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the officers at the scene.

Just before 11 a.m., dozens of people flooded out of the Madison building, having been told by officers inside to leave the building.

“Everybody head south now,” a Capitol Police officer said as other officers ushered construction workers away from work in the road and asked diners outside a cafe to leave their tables.

Ultimately much of the crowd, some carrying laptops and tangled handfuls of charging cords and headphones, ended up in a park near the building, calling family members and figuring out how to get home.

The threat unsettled visitors and employees at the Capitol, eight months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Hill on January 6, in a violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.

Research contact: @nytimes

Editor’s note: Shortly aftern 2 p.m., the suspect peacefully surrendered. “As far as we can tell it was just his decision to surrender,” said Chief Manger, who identified the man as Floyd Roy Roseberry and said it appeared that he acted alone. He now faces federal charges. Authorities are examining the so-called bomb to determine whether it is an explosive device.

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