One person was taken into custody early Friday after being found near the Pentagon with suspicious materials in his backpack, authorities said. The scare brought rush hour traffic to a halt.
Police have shut down several roads around the Pentagon after a man was found overnight in Arlington National Cemetery while the cemetery was closed, and a suspicious vehicle was discovered along Washington Boulevard.
The man was not cooperative when questioned, and the case was escalated. Park Police placed one man in custody who had a backpack with an inert substance, and police were investigating a vehicle in some bushes near the Pentagon with a “suspicious device” inside the car.
Possibly two more people fled the scene on foot when police stopped the vehicle. The FBI released information in a press conference at 8:30 p.m. CT that they believe the suspicious man acted alone, that there was no ‘device’ and that substances in the backpack were ‘inert.’ A notebook inside the back was reported to have the words “Al Qaeda” and “Defeat Coalition Forces” and other words that raised suspicions.
The Arlington Bomb Squad was called to the scene and it was earlier reported that a suspicious device found at the scene was “rendered safe” at the scene. Park Police also said Arlington National Cemetery and other areas around the Pentagon have been secured to make sure those areas are safe.
Road closures seriously affected the morning rush hour with gridlock. At the FBI press conference, media were questioning why such a wide restriction on traffic was put in effect, and why the Counter terrorism task force was called in. The FBI response was that due diligence was part of the procedure for the interest of public safety.
The following roads were reported closed:
Routes 27 and 110 around the Pentagon
All ramps to and from Interstate 395 near the Pentagon
Eastbound Interstate 66 to Route 110
Bus service is also affected with delays, but rail service is operating normally.
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Map of Arlington National Cemetery (left) and Pentagon (right).