Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Capitol Bomb Scare

Police on Monday tackled and forcibly dragged away a man dressed in black and carrying two suitcases who had stationed himself in front of the west side of the U.S. Capitol. The Senate side of the building was evacuated. People on the House side were told to stay away from windows facing the west front. A large area around the Capitol also was cleared, including the area where tourists line up for tours. The area, which overlooks the National Mall, including the Washington Monument, had been filled with tourists on a beautiful spring day. Police, some armed with assault rifles, then moved in slowly behind the man, who faced the Capitol from a plaza below its west entrance. They jumped a low wall, rushed the man from behind, threw him to the ground and dragged him away, leaving the suitcases behind. But there are reports the man was Asian or Chinese and did not understand the security guards when they questioned him. There was never any actual threat. (We Don't Know That!) Among the officials whose offices are on the west side of the Capitol looking out upon the National Mall are House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. There was no word on the man's motive, he is 33 years old, from China and carrying no identification. A three-hour investigation of the suitcases, including blasting them with a water cannon, revealed nothing threatening, Gainer said.
Captiol Police approach an unidentified man who stood in front of the U.S. Capitol with two suitcases.