By Julio-Cesar Chavez and Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch and Lawrence Hurley and Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Law enforcement officers surrounded a man with possible explosives sitting in a vehicle near the US Capitol on Thursday as nearby buildings were emptied and emergency vehicles rushed to the scene.
“This is an active bomb threat investigation,” reported Capitol Police (USCP) on Twitter.
The man was in a vehicle outside the Library of Congress, which faces the Capitol, a law enforcement source said.
According to this, the presence of explosives had not been confirmed.
But in Congress, people were notified that the vehicle’s occupant said he had a bomb and that authorities were framing their reactions with the threat in mind, an official told Reuters.
Several nearby buildings were emptied, including the Supreme Court. People in Madison’s office building were instructed to protect themselves in their own offices. A nearby subway station was closed.
Police closed off streets surrounding the Capitol complex as fire and rescue trucks made their way into the area. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was dispatching a bomb technician to assist police, and the FBI was also called.
The normally busy area of Capitol Hill was relatively deserted, and the House of Representatives and Senate were not in session.
“The USCP is reacting to a suspicious vehicle near the Library of Congress,” the corporation said on Twitter. “Keep away from this area.”
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