Capitol Police Investigate Suspicious Vehicle Near Library of Congress

The Capitol Police closed off several streets and sent alerts to congressional staff members, prompting evacuations near the Library of Congress.,

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WASHINGTON — The United States Capitol Police were investigating a “suspicious vehicle” outside the Library of Congress on Thursday, telling people to avoid the area.

In alerts to Capitol Hill staff members, the police urged some people to move inside offices, lock doors and stay away from windows, and told others to evacuate to designated assembly areas.

The police were investigating possible explosives in a vehicle near the Library of Congress, according to a congressional official.

The Metropolitan Police Department was “assisting with the report of an active bomb threat involving a suspicious vehicle,” and “currently evacuating the area,” according to a spokeswoman, Alaina Gertz.

The Capitol Police declined to provide details about the investigation and referred questions to the agency’s Twitter account, which urged people to stay away from the area.

With Congress on its annual summer recess, very few lawmakers were inside the Capitol complex on Thursday, though some police, professional staff and their aides were.

As the police investigated, they shut down several nearby streets around the 100 block of First Street SE. Technicians from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the officers at the scene.

Shortly before 11 a.m., dozens of people flooded out of the Madison building, having been told by officers inside to leave the building.

“Everybody head south now,” a Capitol Police officer said as other officers ushered construction workers away from work in the road and asked diners outside a cafe to leave their tables.

Ultimately much of the crowd, some carrying laptops and tangled handfuls of charging cords and headphones, ended up in a park near the building, calling family members and figuring out how to get home.

The threat unsettled visitors and employees at the Capitol, eight months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Hill on Jan. 6, in a violent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.

Glenn Thrush and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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