Police closed two streets near the station and, via social media, urged the public to “avoid the area until further notice.” According to WRC-TV, police said the man had a “long gun,” with one source saying the weapon was an AR-15-style gun. Senate office buildings were temporarily put on lockdown during the police response, according to Axios. The lockdown was later lifted. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said the incident began at about 12:39 p.m. when Capitol police near the Russell House Office building there was a man with a gun in the park, according to WJLA-TV. Manger said Ahmir Lavon Merrell, 21, of Atlanta, Georgia, was ordered by officers to stop, but refused to obey. Capitol police officer tased Merrell, who then fell forward on his rifle. Merrell is a registered sex offender in Georgia, Manger said. A bag Merrell left on a park bench was searched by bomb technicians, who found nothing suspicious, Manger said. Officials do not know why Merrell was at the park with a gun, or what he planned to do, Manger said. After an initial interaction with Merrill, Manger said mental health issues may be involved. Merrell is likely to face a charge of having a firearm on Capitol grounds and perhaps other charges, WJLA reported. Axios noted that on Sunday, two men crashed a car into a vehicle barrier near the Capitol. In that incident, the men fled, leaving behind two handguns and the car, which was stolen.
We just searched the area in the park that we secured. Out of an abundance of caution, we going to search the suspect’s belongings. Again, the suspect is in custody. Investigation ongoing.— The U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) November 7, 2023
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.