Police say there is no active shooter at the Senate office buildings and no injuries, after what appears to be “a bogus call” locked down the buildings and drew a massive police response.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said police had responded around 2:30 p.m. to reports of an active shooter wearing body armor in the Hart Senate Office Building.
Lawmakers are not in Washington due to the August recess, but aides were working in the buildings.
More than 200 officers responded “within seconds,” clearing all three buildings — Hart, Russell and Dirksen — floor-by-floor.
“So far, nothing. We’ve found nothing concerning. We’ve gotten nobody that has actually heard shots and certainly no victims,” Manger said.
Authorities have had no further contact with the initial caller.
“I think at this point we can say that we’ve found no confirmation that there was an active shooter and that this might have been a bogus call,” he said.
By about 4 p.m., the buildings had been evacuated, and shortly after staffers were allowed to return inside.
“We have been training for active shooters for the last couple of years and we’ve been training inside these office buildings,” Manger said.
Staffers, some appearing shaken, were huddled outside.
Outside the Hart building, two staffers said they had been told by Capitol police that there was a report of an active shooter and were told it was not a drill.
They were asked to close doors, turn off lights and get away from windows.
After 30 or 40 minutes Capitol police officers cleared the offices with guns drawn moving from the top toward the lower floors and escorted outside the building.
One rattled staffer was overheard expressing her discomfort at having a police officers displaying weapons.
A second staffer clarified that officers were not pointing their firearms at staff.
Manger said fencing would not go up around the Capitol, but a security plan was in place for the following day, when former President Trump is set to make a court appearance in Washington.
“We’re prepared for whatever may happen tomorrow,” he said.
Updated at 4:26 p.m.