Man with rifle arrested near Senate office buildings

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WASHINGTON — A man with a rifle was arrested in a park near Senate office buildings across from Union Station in Washington on Tuesday, according to U.S. Capitol Police, who said there is no reason to believe there is an ongoing threat.

The suspect was arrested after Capitol Police got a call about a man with a gun. They said on X that the suspect was in custody and that they had searched the park and would go through the man’s belongings “out of an abundance of caution.”

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger identified the suspect as Ahmir Lavon Merrell, 21, of Atlanta. Manger said at a news conference that the gun appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon that looked similar to an AR-15, though he could not confirm details about the weapon.

Merrell has a warrant for a probation violation out of Georgia, Capitol Police said in a news release. It was not immediately clear why Merrell was in Washington.

He faces five charges so far, including felon in possession of a firearm and fugitive from justice.

Capitol Police search a vehicle after arresting a man who was in possession of a firearm outside the Capitol. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Capitol Police search a vehicle after arresting a man who was in possession of a firearm outside the Capitol. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Manger said the incident, on a day when the Senate was in session, unfolded shortly after 12:30 p.m. when an officer near a Senate office building was alerted to a man nearby with a gun. Officers ordered the man to stop, but he did not comply, so an officer used a stun gun on his back and took him into custody, Manger said.

Officers were seen sprinting to the Capitol, followed by reporters, some of whom were not allowed to leave. A witness described the suspect as a tall Black man wearing an orange jumpsuit.

More than half a dozen law enforcement vehicles responded.

It took officers about three minutes to take the man into custody after they were alerted to the gun, Manger said. After that, the man was put in an ambulance so he could be treated from the use of the stun gun if necessary, Manger added.

As of Tuesday afternoon’s briefing, bomb technicians were still searching a bag the person left on a park bench, Manger said, noting that they have not found anything suspicious.

Frank Thorp V and Megan Lebowitz reported from Washington, and Summer Concepcion reported from New York.

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