A Capitol Police bomb squad safely exploded a pressure cooker in a parked car near the National Mall Sunday evening, the department said in a statement. They acted out of an abundance of caution, during the annual Memorial Day concert that draws thousands to the Capitol grounds, but later found nothing hazardous about the vehicle. Around 5 p.m., officers on a routine patrol observed a parked and unoccupied vehicle on the west side of 3rd Street between Jefferson Drive and Madison Drive Northwest. They deemed the car suspicious, and further investigation revealed a pressure cooker. Officers also smelled gasoline.
Police set up a security perimeter and temporary street closures near the Capitol, where preparations were underway for the annual Memorial Day concert. General admission gates located at the southwest corner of Capitol grounds were scheduled to open at 5 p.m.
At about 7:45 p.m., bomb technicians "safely disrupted the items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker" and performed a hand search, Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement. The detonation produced a loud “bang," according to Schneider. WJLA captured video during the explosion.
At about 8:20 pm, Capitol Police concluded the investigation of the vehicle "with negative results and nothing hazardous found," Schneider said.
The owner of the vehicle, Israel Shimeles of Alexandria, Va., was located and arrested on a charge of driving with a revoked license.
The Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police, D.C. Fire and EMS, the Secret Service and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force all assisted Capitol Police.
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