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WASHINGTON — The United States Capitol Police (USCP) said Friday they had arrested a Michigan man wearing body armor and carrying ammunition outside the Capitol.
Authorities found the man wearing a fake badge, carrying a BB gun, wearing body armor, and carrying several magazines, the Capitol Police said in a press release.
Jerome Felipe, the 53-year-old suspect, is a retired New York police officer from Flint, Michigan. Police say he showed USCP officers a fake badge with “Department of the INTERPOL” printed on it.
He retired from the police force in 2018, the NYPD office of the deputy commissioner of public information confirmed Friday. “We are fully cooperating with the US Capitol Police investigation. For any additional questions please be referred to the US Capitol Police,” said NYPD.
Felipe had parked his 2017 Dodge Charger on the west side of the Capitol, police said, and claimed to be a criminal investigator.
“Felipe gave officers permission to search his vehicle,” said USCP. “The officers discovered a BB gun, two ballistic vests, several high capacity magazines, and other ammunition in the car. No real guns were found.”
It is not immediately clear what Felipe was doing parked near the Capitol, and police said that he is “facing charges for Unlawful Possession of High Capacity Magazines and Unregistered Ammo.”
The USCP, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire, is responsible for guarding the U.S. Capitol.
The force came under severe scrutiny following the January 6 Capitol Riot, and Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in January that 153 officers had either resigned or retired in the year after the riot.
Manger told the Rules and Administration Committee in January that the force was short 447 of its authorized strength. He said his goal was to hire 280 officers a year for the next three years to make up for the departures and the stress upon officers who have served the force in the wake of the riot.
“It will be a challenge hiring that many officers,” Manger said, according to USA Today. “The real challenge is to make sure you’re hiring the right officers, that we’re hiring good quality candidates.”
In April, the USCP temporarily evacuated the U.S. Capitol 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