Man surrenders after claiming to have bomb near US Capitol

Published August 19, 2021
A police officer stands at an intersection near the US Capitol and a Library of Congress building in Washington on Thursday. — AP
A police officer stands at an intersection near the US Capitol and a Library of Congress building in Washington on Thursday. — AP

The man who claimed to have a bomb in a pickup truck near the United States Capitol has surrendered to law enforcement, ending an hours-long standoff on Thursday.

The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, of North Carolina, crawled out of the vehicle and was being taken into custody shortly before 2:30pm.

He had pulled up outside the library earlier in the day and told police he had a bomb in his truck. An officer saw what appeared to be a detonator in the man’s hand.

The man had been negotiating with police during a standoff that lasted around five hours.

Capitol Police said officers were “responding to a suspicious vehicle near the Library of Congress”, and that it was an “active bomb threat investigation”.

The White House said it was monitoring the situation and was being briefed by law enforcement.

Earlier, officials evacuated a number of buildings around the Capitol and sent snipers to the area after officers saw the man holding what looked like a detonator inside the pickup, which had no licence plates. Congress is in recess this week, but staffers were seen calmly walking out of the area at the direction of authorities.

While police continued negotiations, a video surfaced of Roseberry on Facebook Live inside the truck, which was stuffed with coins and boxes. He was threatening explosions, making anti-government threats and talking about what he believes are the ills of the country, including the US position on Afghanistan, healthcare and the military.

He said Democrats needed to step down, then also said he loved the president, Democrat Joe Biden. Facebook removed the videos a few hours after they were apparently filmed. Roseberry did not appear to have a specific demand for law enforcement other than to speak with Biden.

Roseberry’s ex-wife, Crystal Roseberry, said she had seen images of the man in the standoff at the Capitol and confirmed to The Associated Press that it was her ex-husband. She said had never known him to have explosives, but that he was an avid collector of firearms.

The nation’s capital has been tense since the Jan 6 insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Fencing that had been installed around the Capitol grounds had been up for months but was taken down this summer. A day before thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, pipe bombs were left at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) in Washington. No one has been arrested yet for placing the bombs.

The RNC, not far away from where the truck was parked on Thursday, was also evacuated over the threat. Officials are also jittery over a planned rally in September in DC.

The episode began about 9:15am when the truck drove up the sidewalk outside the library, police said. The driver told the responding officer that he had a bomb.

The area remained blocked off by police cars and barricades, and multiple fire trucks and ambulances were staged nearby. Also responding were the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police, FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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