Maryland State House locked down, armed officers seen responding

Mar 1, 2024



ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland State House was locked down for about two hours Thursday after an anonymous phone threat was made, but officials said no signs of suspicious activity were found and later allowed people back inside.

Annapolis Police Department spokesperson Bernie Bennett said someone made an anonymous threat to the State House via phone. He said the agency was called to assist the Maryland Capitol police in responding to the potential threat.

Authorities didn’t find anything suspicious in the building. Bennett said they also didn’t receive any reports of violence at the State House and that no one had taken credit for the threat.

“You have to react to every threat as though it’s credible and serious,” he said.

By 7 p.m., an Anne Arundel County police officer said the building was “all clear,” and people were allowed to go back inside.

Nick Cavey, a spokesperson with the Maryland Department of General Services, said Capitol police coordinated sweeps of the State House, Senate and House office buildings and surrounding grounds, according to protocol, and determined that the areas were secure and clear of any potential threat.

“The lockdown and shelter in place was lifted at 6:52 p.m. and all remaining occupants, including the governor, lieutenant governor, and Senate president, were escorted from the building, per situational protocol,” Cavey said in a statement. “State House grounds have resumed standard security procedures and protocol.”

It was shortly after 5 p.m. when reporters with offices on the ground floor of the building were told by an aide to Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones to lock their doors. About 30 minutes later, police escorted reporters out of the building.

An Associated Press reporter saw an officer hurrying up a staircase with his gun drawn. State employees also were seen evacuating the building.

People inside the building were asked to shelter in place while law enforcement agents searched the building and grounds, including with police dogs. Police cars were lined up outside the building, blocking roads that lead to a road that encircles the State House.

Senate President Bill Ferguson and the speaker thanked all the law enforcement officers who responded to the threat.

“We and everyone else in the legislative complex are grateful for their presence as we continue to do the people’s work,” they said in a joint statement.

Gov. Wes Moore also thanked law enforcement.

“Our family is grateful for the members of the Maryland Capitol Police, Maryland State Police, Annapolis Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department who secured the State House Grounds and kept us safe today,” the governor said in a statement.

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