The Library of Congress and surrounding Washington, D.C. area was evacuated on Thursday (Aug. 19) after police responded to a report about a possible explosive device nearby. According to NBC, a North Carolina man sitting inside a pickup truck outside the Library of Congress told police he had a bomb.
Snipers were dispatched to the area and the Supreme Court, a House office building, the Library of Congress, Republican National Committee offices and some nearby residents were evacuated. Congress is in recess this week, but staffers were seen leaving the area. Capitol Police said officers were “responding to a suspicious vehicle near the Library of Congress” and called the situation an “active bomb threat investigation.”
According to police, the man was seen driving a black pickup truck onto the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress around 9:15 a.m. local time.
“The driver of the truck told the responding officer on the scene that he had a bomb and what appeared, the officer said, appeared to be a detonator in the man’s hand,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters. “So, we immediately evacuated the nearby buildings.”
According to NBC, the man communicated with police by writing notes on a dry-erase board from inside his car and claimed to have a propane tank inside the cab of the truck. Law enforcement officials also told NBC that man made anti-government statements on a Facebook livestream video, which he filmed while parked outside the Library of Congress.
“My negotiators are hard at work trying to have a peaceful resolution to this incident,” Manger said.
Around 10:30 a.m. EST, the Capitol Police Twitter account said to “continue to avoid the area around the Library of Congress.” Nearby streets were blocked off by barricades, police cars and firetrucks while the Capitol Police; D.C. Metropolitan Police; FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the threat.
The White House said it was monitoring the situation and is being briefed by responding law enforcement. Fences around the Capitol grounds were taken down this summer months after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.