Capitol’s Cannon Building and nearby DC streets evacuated over security alarm

Situation underscored tense security atmosphere at Capitol since January 6

John Bowden
Thursday 03 February 2022 22:32 GMT
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The Cannon House Office building, one of three buildings on the US Capitol complex where members of the US House have offices and space for staff, was evacuated on Thursday.

US Capitol Police conducted the evacuation and later said in a statement that a security alarm was triggered by construction in the building. Nearby streets were cordoned off as well.

“At this time we believe construction work accidentally set off an alarm. After the alarm went off, the USCP evacuated the Cannon Building and closed off nearby streets to ensure everyone’s safety,” said the agency.

Video (seen above) of the blaring alarms in the emptying hallways of the Cannon House Office Building was shared on Twitter by Rep Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina.

Thursday’s evacuation over an alarm triggered by workers reveals just how tight the security situation is at the US Capitol more than a year after rioters stormed the complex and attempted to force lawmakers to overturn Donald Trump’s election defeat.

The security situation also occurred the same day as a bizarre scene played out near the Supreme Court, where a man who was previously arrested for sitting outside of the building and making threatening statements returned and was apparently shooed away from the premises by US Capitol Police officers.

Much of the physical security outside of the Capitol erected in the days after 6 January 2021, including the metal fencing and security checkpoints, have been removed since the attack while the law enforcement presence in and around the buildings themselves remain beefed up.

US Capitol Police implemented those changes and a number of others last year after the riot, including the opening of field offices to investigate a rising number of violent threats targeting members of Congress.

Last July the agency’s acting chief stated that Capitol Police was “working around the clock with our congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency”.

A nonpartisan administrative staffer for the US House was charged with carrying a firearm without a licence in December after a gun was discovered in his bag at a security checkpoint.

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