WASHINGTON – US Capitol Police have locked down and evacuated the Russell Senate Office Building after receiving reports of a possible active shooter, two law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The reports have yet to be substantiated and Capitol Police officers are still searching the area.
US Capitol Police tweeted Wednesday just before 1 p.m. 15 ET that their officers were searching in and around a Senate office building in response to “a distressing 911 call.”
“Please stay away from the area as we are still investigating. We will continue to communicate with the public here,” the agency tweeted.
In a follow-up post on Twitter, Capitol Police said: “If you are inside the Senate buildings, everyone inside should be in place as the report was of a possible active shooter. It should be noted that we have no confirmed reports of shots fired.”
Officers blocked access to the underground tunnels leading to the Senate office buildings from the main building.
An email sent out to congressional staff warned people to move into their office or the closest and take emergency equipment and visitors. It told people to close, lock and stay away from exterior doors and windows and find a place to hide or take cover if they are in a public space.
While the Russell Building was being evacuated, the security posture at the Capitol building itself seemed fairly calm but alert. The building itself has not yet been locked down.
Most lawmakers are currently away from the Capitol and in their congressional districts for the August recess. Employees still report to their offices on Capitol Hill, but there are likely to be fewer people in the office buildings during the off-hours.