Senate buildings put on alert as police arrest 'threatening' man

Capitol Police arrested a Virginia man on Thursday and charged him with assault on an officer after he allegedly physically threatened an officer outside the Senate office buildings.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m., a Capitol Police officer posted at the barricade on First Street and Constitution Avenue NE had just finished screening an unrelated vehicle when a man walked “very rapidly” across the crosswalk, according to Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse.

The man, Paul Agole Ujwok, 41, allegedly began to make physically threatening gestures toward the officer, lunging towards him and making movements as though he had a weapon under his coat, according to a Capitol Police spokeswoman. The officer drew his gun and instructed the man to lay down on the ground. 

“He began to threaten the officer physically,” Morse told The Hill. “The officer took a defensive posture to thwart that aggressive action, but then the subject’s behavior led the officer to believe that he may have a gun.”

At about 11:30 a.m., Senate staff received an emergency message from Capitol Police saying that “all members and staff should lock their office doors and stay in their office.”

Several other officers arrived at the barricade immediately, which sits between the Dirksen Senate Office Building and the Russell Senate Office Building, and continued to give the man orders to lay on the ground.

The man continued to refuse, said Morse, at which point a plainclothes officer in the Capitol Police’s intelligence division “quickly came from behind and took the subject down and into custody.”

The man was brought into Capitol Police headquarters where the criminal investigations unit interviewed him. He was later arrested and charged with assault on a police officer. An all-clear was given to Senate and Capitol offices shortly after his detainment.

“We have not found any evidence that he has a gun,” said Morse. “He intimated through his behavior that he had one. The officers were physically threatened and felt that he may possess some sort of weapon because he was intimating that in his behavior.”

“They did a very nice and disciplined job. They had cover and their training kicked in and were very brave."

Thursday’s incident comes after a September shooting in which a man with a firearm approached a Capitol Police officer near the House office buildings. The man allegedly pointed the weapon at the officer and then fled on foot.

Officers soon after confronted the man blocks away. He pointed his gun at them again, at which point officers shot and wounded the man. He was later arrested and charged with assault with the intent to kill.

In July of last year, another shooting caused the Senate office buildings to be locked down, after a man shot at officers while trying to flee from a traffic stop. Officers shot and killed the man.

This article was updated at 5:37 p.m.

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