Confusion about a plane dropping Army parachutists over Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington prompted U.S. Capitol Police to order an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol complex on Wednesday evening.
Shortly after 6 p.m., police issued an alert to the Capitol complex, saying they were “tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat.”
The advisory urged anyone in the main part of the Capitol, the Capitol Visitors Center, House and Senate office buildings and the Library of Congress to evacuate.
The advisory urged people to move north or south away from the buildings and cautioned, “DO NOT STOP at your primary assembly area.”
But police apparently weren’t told that it was Military Appreciation Night at nearby Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals.
Every military member can attend the game for free, and the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team was making a free-fall landing in center field.
“An Army team jumped out of a plane to parachute into Nats Park. Someone apparently forgot to tell the Capitol Police,” tweeted anchor Adam Longo of WUSA, Channel 9. “They alerted everyone on Capitol grounds to evacuate due to a probable threat.”
NBC News showed a video of the parachutists soaring within view of the Capitol dome after being dropped from a small single-engine plane.
Capitol Police issued an all-clear more than 30 minutes after ordering the evacuation.
“The Capitol was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening,” the police said in a statement posted on Twitter. “There is no threat at the Capitol. More details to come.”
The Capitol has frequent false alarms about possible threats, but the mention of a plane raised concerns among some about a 9/11-style attack.
• Dave Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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