Capitol Police Apprehend Suspect on West Front

Posted April 11, 2005 at 1:10pm

Capitol Police have taken into custody a male suspect who prompted the closure of the West Front after he appeared in the area with two suspicious packages this afternoon.

Members of the Capitol Police Containment Emergency Response Team, which is similar to a SWAT team, could be seen tackling the suspect shortly before 1:45 p.m.

Officer Michael Lauer, a department spokesman, could not immediately confirm the man’s identity or provide information on what crime he may be charged with.

Capitol Police had closed down the West Front around 12:55 p.m., after the man was seen with what appeared to be two suitcases, which the police had deemed suspicious packages.

Lauer could not say whether the man had any specific threats.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., a hazardous materials unit destroyed one suitcase.

Despite closing the West Front, officials did not evacuate the Capitol. During the incident tourists and staff could be seen in the building, apparently unaware of the goings-on outside.

— Jennifer Yachnin