Monday, April 11, 2005

Suspicious Man with Suitcase Tackled At Capitol

Suspicious Man Tackled at Capitol... Pic here!
All employees inside the U.S. Capitol are being evacuated because a suspicious person with what appears to be two suitcases is standing on the west side of the building.

A camera watching the situation shows the person simply standing with a suitcase on either side.

At about 1:40 p.m. four armed officers approached the man, tackled him and dragged him away. The two suitcases he was standing with remain outside the building while the investigation continues.

Additional:
Man With Suitcases Captured at Capitol
Police tackle suspicious man outside Capitol ... another pic here!

From the CBS News version...
But CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports that the man was Asian or Chinese and did not understand the security guards when they questioned him. There was never any actual threat.

Full slideshow of incident here!
Full Video of the indident here!

BLOG ROUND-UP:
Cao's Blog
"This was reported to me by a man behind the scenes in the Airforce. He said a man was standing “at parade rest” in front of the capitol with two suitcases on either side of him."

Fantastic Planet
"UPDATE: Well, looks like the suitcases contained . . . CLOTHES! God forbid....They just blew the danged things up. No robots. No explosion-proof box. Apparently x-rays showed nothin’, but they blew ‘em up anyhow. This really, really stinks of something bigger (but we’ll most likely never know)."

The Political Teen has the video of the suitcases being blown to smithereens...


UPDATE (4:18pm, 4/11/05): From the Guardian's article on this, some new info:
Police on Monday tackled and dragged away a man with two suitcases who stationed himself in front of the west side of the Capitol and asked to see the president.

The man refused to say anything else to an officer who tried to talk with him, authorities said.

``He was not very responsive,'' said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer. ``The officer felt it was a possible suicide bomber.''

He refused to identify the man involved other than to say he was 33 years old, from China and carrying no identification.

``He said that if we wanted to know what was in the suitcase, we would have to open it ourselves,'' Gainer said.



UPDATE #2(1:21pm, 4/12/05): From the VOA News version of this story...
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer identified the man as Wen Hao during an interview with CNN television Tuesday.

The suspect, who Mr. Gainer said is also an Australian citizen, has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Very interesting... a Chinese man with dual citizenship... I still don't understand why he was here and what he was doing? Perhaps probing our response time?


UPDATE #3 (10:12am, 4/13/05): From the Washington Post, we have a couple of new tidbits and info that the man, now identified as Wenhao Zhao, will be deported for Visa violations:
Zhao arrived in the United States on Friday as a tourist under a program that allows citizens of nearly 30 U.S. allies to enter the country without obtaining a visa, authorities said.

Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said at a news conference Monday that police intended to charge Zhao with disorderly conduct for refusing to cooperate and obey police officers.

But Gainer said yesterday that investigators changed their minds after interrogating him. They believe that Zhao might have mental problems because he was not making much sense during the questioning, Gainer said. "He didn't seem to be in full control of his faculties," he said. "Most of what he was saying was nonsensical."

During interrogations, Zhao also reiterated his request to see the president or said police could kill him, Gainer said. He also told police that they would understand his actions in a week, Gainer said, adding that he attached no particular importance to that statement.

Who the hell was this guy? Chinese intel officer? He had only been living in Australia for 1 year. Was this an intel gathering mission for the Chinese? Are they plotting Asymmetrical warfare?