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‘Active Bomb Threat’ on Capitol Hill Ends in Surrender

August 19, 2021 by Dan McCue
The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — A man who claimed to have a bomb in a pickup truck outside the Library of Congress surrendered to the police Thursday afternoon, after hours of negotiations and evacuations of several government buildings in the area.

The man, identified as Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, of Grover, North Carolina, surrendered peacefully, according to Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Capitol Police.

The incident began at about 9:15 a.m. Thursday morning, when Roseberry drove a black pickup onto the sidewalk in front of the library’s Court of Neptune fountain.

When a police officer, responding to a disturbance call, arrived at the scene, Roseberry said he had a bomb in the truck and one of the officers observed what appeared to be a detonator in his hand, Manger said.

The police then spent hours negotiating with the man, he said. It appears his claim of being armed with explosives was a hoax.

The Capitol complex was on lockdown for much of the day. Manger said the ongoing investigation would likely last many hours longer.

“We don’t know what his motives are at this time,” the chief said.

There was no immediate word on what charges Roseberry will face.

The five-hour long standoff made for a tense day at the Capitol Complex and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

For much of the morning, all anyone knew about what was transpring was contained in a tweet from the Capitol Police, who asked people to stay away from the area and said, “This is an ongoing investigation. We are monitoring this situation closely and will update this account as we can get information we can release.”

Law enforcement officials then said investigators on the scene were working to determine whether the device was an operable explosive and whether the man in the truck was holding a detonator.

In the meantime, negotiators at the scene first tried to communicate with Roseberry using a white board. They then used a robot to deliver a phone to the pickup truck, but Roseberry declined to use it. Eventually another phone was delivered to him.

As all this unfolded, Roseberry himself live streamed some of the drama via Facebook live, and both the library and nearby House Cannon Office Building were evacuated, with staffers told to remain calm and take underground tunnels to safety.

Throughout the negotiations, the area around the Capitol and Library of Congress was blocked off by police cars, heavy trucks and barricades.

Members of the National Capital Response Squad from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.

One positive note: Congress is on break this week.

The incident comes months after a pipe bomb was left at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee in Washington one day before thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in January.

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