Gun In Cannon House Office Building

October 30, 2003
Press Release
United States Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer
Public Information Office  
119 D Street, NE  
Washington, D.C. 20510 Immediate
(202) 224-1677  

At approximately 1 p.m. today, the United States Capitol Police determined that someone with a gun had entered the Cannon House Office Building. After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the gun was a plastic toy revolver that was part of a Halloween costume.

The incident began when someone placed a bag containing what appeared to be a revolver on the x-ray machine at the Southeast door of the Cannon building. "Once the suspect weapon was recognized, we took quick, decisive, and protective action" stated Chief Gainer. The decision was made to prohibit the entering or exiting of the building as officers began a search. As individual floors were searched, occupants were advised to vacate to a lower floor.

During this time and while maintaining security throughout the Campus, the Department activated many of its resources to include the Containment Emergency Response Team, K-9, investigators and additional officers.

The initial lookout was reported as a white male, carrying a black and gray backpack, but further investigation revealed that the individual who put the bag on the conveyor belt was a white female. Once the broadcast for the female was publicized, an individual from a Congressional Office contacted Capitol Police. The individual advised that a member of the staff believed that the gun in question - a plastic toy gun - was in her possession as part of a Halloween costume that she had just purchased.

Once Capitol Police confirmed that it was in fact the gun in question, all doors were reopened and business returned to normal operations.

"Fortunately, it wasn’t a real gun. We’ve learned a few lessons and will improve our techniques including the speed at which items pass through the x-ray machine and are returned to their owner along with communications to the Congressional community", noted Chief Gainer.


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  Prepared by:
  Officer Jessica Gissubel
  United States Capitol Police
  Public Information Officer