The office buildings utilized by the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C. were temporarily placed on lockdown and evacuated Wednesday due to a report of an active shooter, the Associated Press reported.
However, following a roughly 90-minute search of the buildings by hundreds of officers that turned up nothing, the police ultimately concluded that there was no threat and the initial report of a suspected gunman was most likely a "bogus call."
The incident occurred amid "heightened security concerns" due to Special Counsel Jack Smith's recent additional criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump, this time in relation to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.
NBC News reported that according to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, a 911 call about a possible active shooter in one of the Senate office buildings was received around 2:30 pm and officers responded within "seconds," with a final all-clear being given around 4 pm.
Alerts were swiftly sent out for anybody in the Senate office buildings to shelter in place before being evacuated while a room-by-room search was conducted by officers from multiple law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions in and around the U.S. Capitol complex.
Prior to a press conference from Manger, a spokesman for the D.C. Metropolitan Police, which assisted in the response, told reporters that "a call came in for an active shooter. It appears to be a bad call. No injuries and no shooter were located."
A short time later, NBC News noted that Chief Manger told reporters at a press conference around 4 pm, "We found no confirmation that there was an active shooter, and that this may have been a bogus call."
"So far, nothing. We found nothing concerning," the chief said. "We've got nobody that actually heard shots, and certainly nobody, no victims. And as we've gone through the building, no one has said that they've seen anything."
Manger shared that the initial 911 call had warned of a "heavyset Hispanic male wearing body armor" and that "We have no other information, no confirmation of that." He further noted that Metro PD had attempted several times to trace the original call but that each attempt had resulted in a different location for the source of the call.
The AP reported that the chief also told reporters that Capitol Police and other agencies had been making preparations "for a couple weeks now" and had "a security plan in place" in anticipation of another criminal indictment of former President Trump and the potential for trouble and possible violence in relation to that.
Politico reported on the tense scene of frightened individuals being evacuated and sent to emergency gathering areas, some with their hands raised or crying, while there were "close to 200 police officers going floor to floor through all three Senate office buildings," according to Chief Manger.
For what it is worth, the Senate is currently in recess so there were very few elected members who were actually in the building at the time of the lockdown and evacuation.
However, even though there were far fewer people in the Senate buildings than there otherwise would be if the Senate were in session, there nonetheless were thousands of staffers and support employees who were still there doing their normal jobs.
It remains unclear if this "bogus call" was in any way related to the Tuesday indictment of former President Trump, but Politico noted that Chief Manger said the USCP, which has been recently training in coordination with the D.C. Metro PD, the federal Park Police, the Secret Service, and other agencies, was "prepared for whatever" might occur in and around the nation's capital with respect to the Trump indictment.