WASHINGTON — The Capitol Police temporarily evacuated the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday evening over a “probable threat” that turned out to be a plane carrying members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights to parachute into a Washington Nationals game.
“The USCP is tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat to the Capitol Complex,” the Capitol Police reportedly said in an alert sent to congressional staffers on Wednesday.
Shortly afterward, the Capitol Police announced that the Capitol “was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening,” noting that “there is no threat at the Capitol,” and promising that more details were to come.
The Capitol was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening.
There is no threat at the Capitol.
More details to come. pic.twitter.com/7qqxqQyzlD
— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) April 20, 2022
U.S. Capitol Police alert just now: “The USCP is tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat to the Capitol Complex.”
Immediate evacuations ordered pic.twitter.com/I4oxv06jrG
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) April 20, 2022
The alert had ordered an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Visitor Center, the Hart, Dirksen, Russell, Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn buildings, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Botanic Garden buildings.
“DO NOT STOP at your primary assembly area,” the alert urged, promising that “updates will be provided.”
About a mile away from the Capitol, the Washington Nationals faced off against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Nationals Park. The plane that police had identified as a “probable threat” was carrying the U.S. Army Golden Knights to parachute into the game for a pregame demonstration, ESPN reported.
It is not immediately clear why the law enforcement officials in Washington were not aware of the demonstration, but the Capitol Police alert sent panicked staffers running from the Capitol buildings around 6:30 p.m., according to the publication.
Eireann Dolan, who is married to Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, tweeted that she was walking her dogs past Dirksen Senate Office Building when “people started streaming out all at once.”
She described it as “the scariest moment of” her life.
“They told me to turn around and get away as fast as possible,” she tweeted. “Some people were calm but many were genuinely panicked. I know I was.”
Possibly the scariest moment of my life. I was walking the dogs past the Dirksen Senate Office Building. People started streaming out all at once. They told me to turn around and get away as fast as possible. Some people were calm but many were genuinely panicked. I know I was. https://t.co/UVuHCiN2RI
— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) April 20, 2022
The Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
Once it became clear that the evacuation was a result of the Nationals pregame demonstration, the incident prompted Twitter users to joke about the Capitol Police’s response.
“I never believed a plane was trying to breach the Capitol because if it was the Capitol Police would have let it in and then complained about it afterwards,” tweeted The First host Jesse Kelly.
I never believed a plane was trying to breach the Capitol because if it was the Capitol Police would have let it in and then complained about it afterwards.
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) April 20, 2022
Lol the Capitol police just called for an evacuation because of Army parachuters jumping into Nats Park for Military Appreciation Day.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 20, 2022
Big thanks to Capitol Police and the U.S. Army for their efforts to raise awareness about Nats stadium’s Military Appreciation Day.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) April 20, 2022
Editor’s note: This article was updated as the situation developed.
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