Police on Monday tackled and forcibly dragged away a man dressed in black and carrying two suitcases who had stationed himself in front of the west side of the U.S. Capitol and refused orders to step away from the bags.
The incident had forced police to evacuate that side of the Capitol in fear of a possible explosion.
Police, some armed with assault rifles, moved in slowly behind the man, who faced the Capitol from a plaza below its west entrance. Crouching behind the wall, the police sprang up and ran full tilt at the man, who never moved.
He was tackled by two policemen, dragged to an ambulance and taken away. Police left the suitcases behind.
Some spectators applauded as police dragged the man away.
Before the standoff ended, Capitol police spokesman Michael Lauer said the man had not said anything to police.
Nothing suspicious discovered
Chief Terrance Gainer said the officer who spotted the man felt he might be a ”suicide bomber.”
After taking the man into custody, an X-ray found wires and a timing device inside one of the bags. But Gainer says after destroying the bags with a high-powered stream of water, police found nothing suspicious.
He says the wires were probably part of a compact disk player and the timer might have been a watch.
Police still don’t know the motive behind the man’s actions.
Among the officials whose offices are on the west side of the Capitol looking out upon the National Mall are House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
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