Man threatening Capitol with bomb is demanding call to Biden and says ‘the South is coming’

·4 min read
 (Sydney Bobb)
(Sydney Bobb)

An eyewitness says she saw a man in a black pickup truck in front of the Library of Congress shouting he had “a bomb” while tossing dollar bills out of the window.

Capitol police are responding to an “active bomb threat investigation” after a man in a pickup truck threatened to detonate an explosive device near the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

The area around the Library on Capitol Hill was being evacuated on Thursday morning and people are being urged to stay away from the area.

Sydney Bobb, 22, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said she was on her way to a race in politics class near the Library of Congress at about 9.25am when she noticed a man in a black pickup truck shouting that he had a bomb.

“I was walking on that block because that’s where I go to class. He was shouting that he had a bomb. And then he threw money out the side of the truck,” Ms Bobb told The Independent by phone as she was being evacuated from her class.

An eyewitness photo from near the Library of Congress shows the alleged suspect threatening the Capitol area with potential explosives. (Sydney Bobb)
An eyewitness photo from near the Library of Congress shows the alleged suspect threatening the Capitol area with potential explosives. (Sydney Bobb)

She said she couldn’t see any device in his truck, and law enforcement have so far been unable to verify whether the man has explosives.

“I remember feeling scared,” she said.

Ms Bobb took a photo of the suspect which showed dollar bills strewn on the ground near the truck.

She initially thought the bills must have been fake “because who throws money out of a truck?”

“But it wasn’t.”

NBC News’ Pete Williams reported on Thursday that the suspect in the truck is using a dry-erase whiteboard to communicate with police. The suspect also posted a number of videos to Facebook before the social media company ultimately cook them down.

“You thought the south wasn’t coming. Well Joe Biden’s time has come. The roads are blocked, and I’m waiting for your call,” the man said in one of the videos.

“Come out here and talk to me Joe, America’s tired of it,” the man believed to be the suspect said.

Sources told the Associated Press that investigators at the scene were trying to determine whether the device was an “operable explosive”.

“Law enforcement is working to determine if the man in the pickup truck is holding a detonator and if the explosive device is operable,” the Associated Press reported.

Law enforcement sources told CNN a “man in the truck” was making threats, and police negotiators were on their way to speak with him.

“The USCP is responding to a suspicious vehicle near the Library of Congress,” the US Capitol Police force said in a Tweet.

“Please stay away from this area and follow this account for the latest information.”

Just before 10:30am on Thursday, Capitol police issued an update warning people to keep their distance.

“This is an active bomb threat investigation. The staging area for journalists covering this situation is at Constitution and First Street, NW for your safety.”

The Capitol police described it as an “ongoing investigation”.

“We are monitoring this situation closely and will update this account as we get information we can release.”

Just after 11am, John Moore, a Congressional candidate, tweeted that everyone in the Library of Congress and surrounding buildings are now evacuated or in the process of evacuation.

“According to reports, the threat is believed to be a truck bomb somewhere between the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.”

Congressional staff have been alerted and warned to remain in their offices.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office is working with Capitol Police on the threat response, it said in a tweet.

Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are also responding to the ongoing threat.

Washington DC Metro trains are bypassing the Capitol South station.

According to its website, more than 3,000 staff work at the Library of Congress. It’s unclear how many are on site.

Security at Capitol Hill has been increased since a mob of thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to block lawmakers from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

A pipe bomb was left at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee in Washington a day before the insurrection.

After the January 6 riots, around 25,000 National Guards deployed around the US Capitol to maintain security for the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Thousands of National Guards maintained a presence there for months amid the ongoing threat of political violence.

On April 2, Capitol Police Officer William F Evans was killed and another officer was injured after they were rammed by a vehicle at the heavily guarded northern entrance to the U.S. Capitol.

The suspect, Noah Green, 25, of Indiana, was shot and killed.

Situated next to the US Capitol building and the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress is the largest in the world.

Staff at the Library were sent a security alert notifying them of the bomb threat on Thursday morning.

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