Man Caught With Shotgun Goes to Court Today
Michael Gorbey, the man who police say was armed with a shotgun and other weapons while walking the streets near the Capitol on Friday, is scheduled to appear before Judge Gregory Jackson in District of Columbia Superior Court today for a preliminary hearing.
The 38-year-old has been held since his arrest and officially charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, although additional charges could be pending, according to the Capitol Police.
Nearly five days after his arrest, Gorbey’s motives remain murky. He told investigators he was headed to an appointment at the Supreme Court, but what he intended to do isn’t quite clear, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said Tuesday.
“I don’t know what evil lurks in his mind,” Gainer said. “I think that’s what’s going to be proved out in court. But it’s illegal to carry a loaded shotgun up a city street, and in this day and age, it’s not very smart.”
Gorbey, who has had prior weapon offenses and once was even questioned by the Secret Service after flying in restricted airspace over Camp David, certainly had plenty of weapons as he walked south on First Street Northeast early Friday afternoon.
Capitol Police Officer Peter Geyer spotted Gorbey — sporting a tactical military vest, blue jeans and a backpack — walking near the 300 block of First Street carrying a Mossberg 500A shotgun, according to a court document. Geyer called for backup and then stopped Gorbey at gunpoint, and he was quickly arrested without incident, the court document read.
Police took possession of the shotgun, which was loaded with four rounds, including one round in the chamber. Police also found a box of .45-caliber rounds in Gorbey’s backpack, along with arrowheads, according to the court paperwork. Twenty-seven additional rounds also were found in various pockets on Gorbey’s vest and in his pants pockets. Police also found a sword.
Meanwhile, dozens of streets surrounding the Capitol complex were closed as police searched a green pickup truck associated with Gorbey for explosives. Several dozen police and emergency vehicles also were on scene.
“There’s hundreds of moving parts to an operation like that,” Gainer said.
The scene was cleared several hours later, after officials deactivated any potential explosives inside the truck. Authorities still aren’t certain if the truck, which has since been impounded, actually belongs to Gorbey or someone else, perhaps an ex-girlfriend, Gainer said.
Police Chief Phillip Morse on Tuesday praised his officers for their response, noting that “Friday’s incident is a reminder of the types of dangerous situations that the U.S. Capitol Police face.”
“The officers who were faced with this dangerous subject acted quickly and heroically to stop the individual,” Morse said. “What followed was a textbook operation by officers and officials to clear the vehicle.”
Friday’s response certainly was a far cry from a similar event that happened on Capitol Hill about 16 months ago, when Maryland resident Carlos Greene crashed a rented sport utility vehicle through the barricade surrounding the Capitol Visitor Center construction site on the East Front of the Capitol.
Greene, armed with a .22-caliber handgun and carrying crack cocaine, ran into the Capitol and made his way through several floors before he was subdued by an Architect of the Capitol employee near the House Flag Office.
The security breach shocked many on Capitol Hill and caused much embarrassment for the department. Acting Chief Christopher McGaffin apologized and several Capitol Police officials resigned.
But the speedy response to Friday’s incident proved that the Capitol Police have made improvements, Gainer said.
“I think your skill sets evolve over each incident, and all the right things happened at the right time on this,” said Gainer, who was not working on Capitol Hill at the time of the Greene breach. “The incident on the East side, several things went wrong at once.”
Members who oversee the department certainly seemed pleased with Friday’s response, including those on the House Administration Committee.
“The Capitol Police did a tremendous job of apprehending the suspect quickly and ensuring the safety of House staff and visitors,” said Kyle Anderson, a spokesman for the panel. “We continue to offer them our full support.”
Similar praise came from the Senate, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, “applauded the Capitol Police’s timely and professional handling of the events,” a spokeswoman said.
Landrieu particularly was impressed with the work of Officer Geyer, said spokeswoman Stephanie Allen.