Police said the suburban Washington office complex housing the headquarters of USA Today newspaper was evacuated on Wednesday after reports came that a man with a weapon inside. However, after searching the property there was found no evidence of a crime.
The incident at the Gannett Building in McLean, Virginia is coming amid the frightful experience of two deadly mass shootings, proved to be a “non-event,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. told reporters.
Roessler said that the incident started around noon local time and the police got an emergency-911 call from a resident of the twin-tower complex reporting that a former employee was in the building armed with a weapon.
The police chief further added that the individual whom Roessler described as a “person of interest” was found elsewhere and was being interviewed by investigators. There was no evidence so far that the suspect had committed a crime, he added.
“We cleared every single inch of that building, from the basement to the roof to the parking garages,” he stated. But the police is yet no sure whether he was actually carrying a gun or not. Police have decided to examine surveillance video and question employees again to be sure.
The complex is home to USA Today, the newspaper’s corporate parent Gannett Co Inc, and offices of other businesses. Workers in the Gannett Building responded correctly to a perceived threat, Roessler said.
“We need to look at this as a positive event,” he said. “Everybody in that building did the right thing. They saw something that was out of place, and they called 911.”
He further added, “It shows that people in our county, and hopefully the country, are training themselves, both in the public and private sector, that if you see something, say something.”