Suspect surrenders to police after bomb threat near US Capitol
A man has surrendered to US police and been taken into custody after claims of a possible explosive device near the Capitol building in Washington DC.
The suspect. identified as 49-year-old Floyd Ray Roseberry, crawled out of his vehicle and was taken into custody shortly before 2.30pm local time after an hours-long standoff.
Authorities did not reveal any details about a motive, and no charges were immediately announced.
The man had been sitting in a black pickup truck, which had no license plates, parked on the pavement outside the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill, and had told police he had a bomb.
US Capitol Police officers said they had responded to a "suspicious vehicle" and evacuated the area around the building.
Roseberry had been engaging with police for about five hours before he finally got out of the car. He was live-streaming video during the standoff, and in one 30-minute missive posted on Facebook had talked about a "revolution".
He also threatened explosions, expressed hostility toward President Joe Biden, and laid bare a series of grievances related to U.S. positions on Afghanistan, health care and the military.
Other videos posted to Facebook before the page was taken down appear to show Roseberry at a Nov. 14 Washington rally attended by thousands of Trump supporters to protest what they claimed was a stolen election. One video appears to be filmed by Roseberry as he’s marching with a crowd of hundreds of people carrying American flags and Trump flags and shouting “stop the steal.”
Kelsey Campbell, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison visiting Washington as part of a class trip, said she and another student encountered Roseberry around 9:20 a.m. outside the nearby Supreme Court building. Campbell said he was with his truck, which was parked next to the sidewalk, and was holding a large stack of dollar bills.
“He said, ‘Hey, call the police, tell them to evacuate this street, and I’ll give you all this money,’” Campbell recounted to The AP. “I said, ’No!’ and he threw the money at us and we started running.”
Campbell said she and the other student saw some police officers standing nearby. They told the officers what happened, and the officers then went to confront Roseberry.
The standoff brought the area surrounding the Capitol to a virtual standstill as police emptied buildings and cordoned off streets as a precaution. Congress is in recess this week, but staffers were seen calmly walking out of the area at the direction of authorities.
By Thursday evening, authorities had finished searching the vehicle and determined the area to be safe after not finding an explosive.
It comes seven months after thousands of radical supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on January 6, leading to five deaths. The day before, a pipe bomb had been left at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
On April 2 this year, a police officer was also killed and another injured when a car rammed into a barricade before the suspect was shot dead.