Update: The man who claimed to have explosives in his pickup truck outside of the Library of Congress surrendered peacefully to police Thursday afternoon after hours of negotiating, reports claimed. Police did not identify the suspect and his motive is currently unknown.
The Library of Congress and its surrounding area were evacuated Thursday morning after police spotted a suspicious pickup truck parked outside. The U.S. Capitol Police are investigating what they believe is an active bomb threat on Capitol Hill, according to a Twitter thread posted Thursday morning.
CNN reported that the police are currently responding to a claim that an explosive device was planted inside the vehicle. Authorities are sending negotiators to communicate with the man in the truck. It’s unclear what exactly his threats are, though police have reason to believe the pickup truck is laden with explosives.
The USCP responded to the suspicious vehicle parked near the Library of Congress. It is suspected that an explosive device is located inside the pickup truck, which is parked somewhere between the Jefferson and the Madison Library of Congress buildings.
Staffers inside both buildings were notified via email of the active bomb threat and were asked to remain calm. They were advised to relocate, though they were told not to exit toward First Street. Staffers in the Cannon building were advised to evacuate to the Longworth House Office Building using underground tunnels beneath the Capitol.
It’s still not clear what happened in the Capitol, though authorities are closely monitoring the dangerous situation.
“The USCP is responding to a suspicious vehicle near the Library of Congress,” the U.S. Capitol Police posted on Twitter at around 10:00 a.m. Thursday. It was advised that all people stay away from the area surrounding the Library of Congress until the scene is secured. The USCP also asked people to follow its account for the latest information.
As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, officers were responding to the scene. It’s currently unclear whether the pickup truck contained explosives. USCP said via Twitter that “this is an ongoing investigating” and that it is “monitoring the situation closely.” Updates will be provided via Twitter through the U.S. Capitol Police Twitter account.
About 10 minutes after the initial announcement, USCP posted a “MEDIA ALERT.” It claimed that “this is an active bomb threat investigation.” Journalists who wished to cover the situation were asked to head to “the staging area,” which is located “at Constitution and First Street, NW.” Authorities asked that people “please continue to avoid the area around the Library of Congress.”
As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the U.S. Capitol Police were “still working this investigation,” and planned to update the public regularly with any additional information. The Library of Congress is the research library for the United States Congress and is located near the Capitol and the Supreme Court buildings.
According to reports, police personnel has already evacuated the Cannon House Office Building. Congress is on a break this week and the building was expected to have been mostly empty when the threat was announced.
The FBI released a statement Thursday afternoon stating that its Washington field office’s National Capital Response Squad is responding to the bomb threat. It was also reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is responding to the incident.
U.S. Capitole Police Chief Tom Manger updated the public on the current investigation during a news conference Thursday afternoon. He said that “around 9:15 am this morning, a man in a black pickup truck drove onto the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress near First and Independence Southeast. We responded to a disturbance call. 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. So we immediately evacuated the nearby buildings.”
A motive has not been identified at this time, Manger said. Authorities are still negotiating with the suspect and are “hard at work” to make sure the situation is diffused peacefully. As of midday Thursday, negotiators were still attempting to come to a “resolution” with the man in the black pickup truck, however, it was not immediately clear to the public what his demands or intentions were.