NC man surrenders after bomb threat standoff in front of Library of Congress

No bomb found, but materials to make one were, police say

A pickup truck is parked in front of the Library of Congress during an active bomb threat across from the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
A pickup truck is parked in front of the Library of Congress during an active bomb threat across from the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted August 19, 2021 at 11:41am, Updated at 5:47pm

Police arrested a man who claimed to have a bomb in his truck near the Capitol after the suspect surrendered Thursday afternoon, ending a tense five-hour standoff.

Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, of Grover, N.C., was taken into police custody “without incident,” Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters at a 2:30 p.m. news conference.

A bomb was not found, but materials that could be used for making one were, according to a news release the police issued later shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Roseberry communicated with negotiators by writing on a whiteboard but refused to use a phone delivered to him by robot. Officials contacted his family and learned his mother had died and he had “other issues that he was dealing with,” Manger said.

After refusing to use the phone, Roseberry “got out of the car on his own” and was taken into custody, the news release said.

A video posted to Facebook appeared to show the suspect streaming some of the standoff in real time from inside his truck. The man in the video claimed to have bombs that would destroy two city blocks, mentioned a coming “revolution” and blamed Democrats for “killing America.” At one point he said his actions weren’t about politics, but he also mentioned President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi by name.

The threat sparked the evacuation of staffers across the Capitol complex and triggered reminders of the chaos of Jan. 6, leaving onlookers shaken. The situation began to unfold around 9:30 a.m., when Capitol Police announced officers were investigating a suspicious vehicle near the corner of First Street Southeast and Independence Avenue. 

A man drove a black truck onto a sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress and told an officer he had a bomb, Manger said at a midday press conference. 

Law enforcement alerted staff in the Library of Congress’ Madison and Jefferson buildings to evacuate, along with House staff in the Cannon House Office Building.

Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, right, and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee, conduct a news conference Thursday near the West Front of the Capitol after a man drove his truck onto a sidewalk near the Library of Congress and said he had a bomb. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House sergeant-at-arms asked staff to avoid the area. “Due to the nature of the incident, this will likely be a prolonged law enforcement response,” the memo sent to House staff said.

The Hill would typically be filled with staff and lawmakers on a Thursday morning, but because both chambers are on an extended summer break, many were working off-campus. Still, some staffers could be seen early Thursday standing behind police lines in the surrounding areas waiting for more information.

“As you all know, the House and Senate are on recess. But there’s still people working throughout some of the buildings that were nearby this location,” said Manger, who was hired earlier this summer as the agency grapples with moving forward in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection that exposed major department failures.

Law enforcement officials dressed in tactical gear closed streets around the library, and a sniper team was spotted on the East Lawn. Armored vehicles and the Capitol Police’s emergency response team vehicles were also on the scene. Metro trains bypassed the Capitol South station as police set up a perimeter.

D.C. Police asked people living in Capitol Hill between 2nd Street to 4th Street Southeast and A Street to Independence Ave Southeast to evacuate, and cleared them to return around 4:30 p.m.

The events brought up unpleasant memories for staffers after what has been a violent year on the Hill. In January a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol itself in a failed insurrection attempt, and in April a man rammed his vehicle into a police barricade near the complex, killing Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans.

A DC Metropolitan Police Department armored vehicle arrives on the East Plaza of the Capitol responding to an active bomb threat near the Library of Congress on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“This year is certainly testing our resolve to continue working in an environment frequently under threats,” said one Capitol Hill staffer working from home Thursday, asking not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press. “But we can’t let the bad guys win. They want us to quit, and we cannot.”

The stress keeps piling up, said one former Democratic House staffer.

“Being a Hill staffer in the post-January 6 era means constant bomb threats, evacuations, and safety drills hiding under your desk,” tweeted Sawyer Hackett, who now works for People First Future PAC.

“Staffers and members deserve occupational therapy,” he added.

Bill Clark and Todd Ruger contributed to this report.