Security Scare Puts Capitol on Brief Lockdown

What was thought to be a weapon turns out to be power drill, sources say

The Capitol was briefly on lockdown on Friday as police said they were searching for a person of interest. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Capitol was briefly on lockdown while police searched for a "person of interest" who was believed to have a weapon.  

Capitol Police lifted the lockdown after it was determined that the woman in question didn't have a weapon. Sources said she was carrying a drill and tools in her backpack.  

Capitol Police explained Friday afternoon in a statement:

"At approximately 8:42 a.m. the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) directed that the U.S. Capitol Building and Capitol Visitor Center be placed in a lockdown, out of an abundance of caution, after officers identified an item within a backpack of an employee passing through the Rayburn House Office Building to the U.S. Capitol that appeared to be a weapon.

"Upon further investigation, USCP officers determined that the item was not a threat to the Congressional community, and the lockdown was lifted and normal operations were restored."

People in the building were told to take shelter in the office nearest them, to lock and stay away from doors and windows, and to silence their cell phones.  

No one was allowed to enter or exit the Capitol and people were told to wait for further instructions from the USCP.  

Reporters said the House gallery was locked and they were moved to the House chamber. Others were told to remain in place.

—Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.
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