Jeffrey Allsbrooks, a 57-year-old congressional staffer, was arrested Thursday after Capitol Police said he tried to bring a handgun into a House of Representatives office building, according to reports. The arrest occurred just hours before President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were due to attend a memorial ceremony at the Capitol for the late Senator Bob Dole, NBC reported.
Allsbrooks was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, Capitol Police said. It’s not clear if he remains in police custody, or if he was allowed to return to work. An investigation is still ongoing, authorities added.
Police Say Jeffrey Allsbrooks Brought Gun into Capitol
According to the press release from Capitol Police, security officials at the Longworth House Office Building in the Capitol Complex “spotted the image of a handgun in a bag on the x-ray screen.” The bag was determined to belong to Allsbrooks, who was tracked down within minutes and arrested, officials said.
It remains unclear how the 57-year-old made it past initial security checkpoints to be “tracked down” later. According to CBS News, security protocol at the Capitol Complex generally requires baggage to be scanned before a visitor is cleared for entry.
Though the president, the first lady, and congressional leadership were all expected to attend the memorial event for Senator Bob Dole – who died at 98 over the weekend – police have not confirmed whether the security breach was related. Authorities have not mentioned whether the incident was part of an assassination attempt,
The tribute continued as planned Thursday afternoon, with no indication that proceedings were slowed or that security was strengthened following Allsbrooks’ arrest.
Staffer ‘Forgot’ Gun Was in Bag
After being taken into custody, the 57-year-old congressional staffer reportedly told police he forgot the gun was in his bag. He was charged with unlicensed carry of a firearm, a felony in the District of Columbia, according to one source.
It was not immediately clear Thursday whether Allsbrooks was still in police custody or if he’s posted bail. It’s also not known whether the staffer has been cleared to return to work in the Capitol building, or if he’s been fired.
According to NBC, Allsbrooks works on the staff of the House Chief Administrative Office, a non-partisan institutional agency that handles payroll, human resources, and other business services to House members and employees. His exact role within the office was not available Thursday.
Security at Capitol Remains a Concern
Just one day before Allsbrooks’ arrest, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she “of course” believes the Capitol Complex is safer today than it was on Jan. 6, when rioters stormed past security to disrupt certification of the 2020 election. Still, the Capitol building has faced a steady stream of high-profile security scares in the months since then.
In April, a Virginia man reportedly rammed his car into a Capitol Police barricade before exiting the vehicle, brandishing a knife. Authorities said they shot the man when he “lunged” at them with the weapon. The attacker and one police officer were killed.
In an August incident, a North Carolina man was arrested after an hours-long standoff with police. The suspect reported claimed to have a bomb in his vehicle and livestreamed a screed about “revolution” on Facebook. Police later said they discovered “suspected bomb-making material” in his car.
Most recently, a California man was arrested when police said they found a machete and a bayonet among other weapons in his truck. The vehicle was reportedly emblazoned with a swastika and other “white supremacist imagery.”