False alarm locks down US Senate buildings, staffers evacuated

People walk out of the Russell Senate Office Building with their hands in the air on Wednesday. AFP
People walk out of the Russell Senate Office Building with their hands in the air on Wednesday. AFP

Panic ensued at the Senate office buildings today as Capitol Police responded to reports of an active shooter. However, after a swift and thorough operation, law enforcement officials confirmed that there was no actual threat, describing the incident as a “bogus call.” 

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said, “We’ve found nothing concerning. We’ve gotten nobody that has actually heard shots and certainly no victims.” 

Lawmakers were not present in the buildings at the time, as they are on recess, but several aides were on duty. More than 200 officers responded promptly, conducting a floor-by-floor search of the three Senate buildings — Hart, Russell, and Dirksen. The staffers were asked to evacuate, and the police quickly cleared the offices with their firearms drawn, ensuring everyone’s safety.

One staffer, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “We were taken aback when Capitol police informed us about the active shooter report. It felt surreal, and we followed the safety protocols, closing doors and staying away from windows.” 

Another staffer expressed discomfort at seeing the officers with weapons drawn, but Chief Manger clarified that the officers were not pointing their firearms at the staff.

The false alarm caused temporary chaos and raised concerns about security measures in the Senate office buildings. The incident highlights the need for continued training and preparation for such emergencies. Chief Manger assured the public that they have been training for active shooter scenarios over the last few years.

“We’re prepared for whatever may happen,” he said, referring to the next day’s planned court appearance of former President Trump in Washington.

Authorities are now investigating the source of the bogus call. The incident brought attention to the challenges faced by law enforcement in handling potential threats while ensuring the safety of civilians.

False active shooter reports can cause fear and disrupt normalcy, making it crucial for officials to maintain vigilance while avoiding unnecessary panic. 


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