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Man threatening to detonate bomb near US Capitol surrenders

Several buildings were evacuated as police negotiated with a man in a pickup truck threatening to detonate explosives near the site.

US Capitol Police create a security perimeter as they investigate a truck bomb near the building in Washington DC.
US Capitol Police create a security perimeter as they investigate a truck bomb near the building in Washington DC.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Aug 19th 2021, 8:23 PM

A MAN IN a pickup truck who threatened to detonate a bomb near the US Capitol has surrendered, police said this evening, ending an hours-long standoff.

“Shortly after we delivered the telephone, he got out of the vehicle and surrendered, and the tactical units that were close by took him into custody without incident,” US Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told reporters.

The suspect, an apparent right-wing extremist, had been livestreaming on social media from his truck parked next to the Library of Congress, assailing President Joe Biden and Democrats, warning of a “revolution,” and complaining about the US government and its policy in Afghanistan.

Several buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington DC had been evacuated.

Much of the complex was cordoned off as police and FBI agents investigated the truck, which was driven onto the pavement near the Capitol building and Library of Congress, for possible explosives.

A man appearing to be the suspect took to Facebook Live to stream a series of threats and asked to speak to President Joe Biden.

“I’m trying to get Joe Biden on the phone. I’m parked up here on the sidewalk right beside all this pretty stuff,” said the man.

“I’m telling you, them snipers come in, they start shooting this window out, this bomb’s going off,” he said.

Police said the suspect man drove the pickup truck onto the pavement before making his threats.

“The driver of the truck told the responding officer on the scene that he had a bomb and what appeared to be a detonator in the man’s hand,” Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told reporters.

 

While it remains unclear whether the vehicle contained actual explosives, the Library of Congress’s main buildings were evacuated amid the scare, as was the nearby US Supreme Court and at least one of the three House office buildings.

The nearby Republican National Committee headquarters was also reportedly evacuated and the Washington Metro’s Capitol Hill subway station closed as a precaution.

A White House official said staff in the executive mansion were monitoring the situation and receiving updates from law enforcement.

‘Growing risk’

Both the Senate and House of Representatives are currently on recess, but some lawmakers have remained in Washington and staffers are working in the complex.

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“My staff and our building near the vehicle have been safely evacuated but please keep the Capitol Police, FBI, and (Washington police) in your prayers as they address this serious threat,” congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi tweeted.

While congressman Dean Phillips said everyone in his office was safe, he noted that “once again, America is forced to confront the growing risk posed by domestic terrorists.”

Tensions have remained high on Capitol Hill more than seven months after the deadly 6 January insurrection, when supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, fought with police, and sought to block certification of the presidential election.

In April, a man rammed a car into barriers at the US Capitol, killing one Capitol Police officer before the attacker was shot and killed.

The January uprising prompted authorities to erect a ring of steel in the form of tall metal fencing and razor wire around the Capitol complex.

The fencing, one of the last physical reminders of the attack, only came down in July.

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AFP

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