Authorities reported the apprehension of a man armed with a rifle in a park in close proximity to the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Ahmir Lavon Merrell, 21, from Atlanta, was confronted by Capitol Police after a report to an officer of a man spotted with a firearm in a park situated near Senate administrative buildings. Despite commands to relinquish the weapon, Merrell did not comply, prompting officers to deploy a Taser to neutralize him, according to the police report.
The vicinity, including the park and surrounding roads near Union Station, was cordoned off for approximately two hours while officers inspected the site and Merrell’s possessions for any potential threats.
As reported by the New York Post, authorities later confirmed their belief that there was no continuing danger to the public. The reason for Merrell’s presence in Washington remains unknown, and attempts to reach contacts for him or previous legal representation were met without immediate response.
Chief Tom Manger of the Capitol Police commended his officers for their prompt response to the critical situation.
Firearm possession is strictly illegal on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, and over 30 firearms have been seized by Capitol Police within the current year.
Following the incident, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated his stance in favor of restricting access to firearms commonly known as assault weapons and affirmed the ongoing commitment to security vigilance at the Capitol.