Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Capitol can be an exciting place. Besides riots, the Capitol Police contend with all manner of calls – like the serial-biter fox who haunted the grounds last spring.
They also contend with dangerous, sometimes deranged individuals. On Tuesday, a young man from the Atlanta area, armed with an AR-15, was arrested near the Capitol grounds.
We just searched the area in the park that we secured. Out of an abundance of caution, we going to search the suspect’s belongings. Again, the suspect is in custody. Investigation ongoing.
— The U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) November 7, 2023
Atlanta Man Arrested Near Capitol
Just before Noon on Tuesday, U.S. Capitol Police announced they arrested a man “with a gun in the park across from Union Station.”
That area encompasses a few blocks nearest to the Senate Office Buildings.
The man who was arrested, identified as 21-year-old Ahmir Merrell of Atlanta, Georgia, reportedly possessed at least a rifle, which police told Fox News “looked like” an AR-15.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger says Ahmir Lavon Merrell, 21, was walking down the sidewalk across the street from Union Station with a gun. He was ordered to drop the gun, but did not, so officers Tased him.
Images shared by the Capitol Police show the gun to be an AR-type pistol with a stabilizing brace and a missing grip.
Capitol police arrest Georgia man with AR-15 near Union Station. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Ahmir Lavon Merrell of Atlanta, GA. Police records show he has a warrant for a probation violation out of Georgia. https://t.co/1lZNPXsYNU pic.twitter.com/UQRK2plhLi
— Allison Papson (@AllisonPapson) November 7, 2023
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The sight of someone walking around with a gun would be quite unusual for the citizens and commuters of D.C. Police Chief Manger also told reporters that Merrell abandoned a bag on one of the park benches, prompting a bomb squad to clear the bag and the area.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Merrell’s legal problems haven’t just begun. He is currently on probation in Fulton County, Georgia, for a prior conviction for cruelty to children – a plea bargain on lower charges than his initial arrest for child molestation.
Video from the scene shows Merrell strapped to a gurney while being loaded into an ambulance.
This video from X appears to show the arrest from the point of view of a bystander:
今天，美国首都华盛顿特区国会大厦外，一名男子自由的持枪闲逛，引发恐慌，后来被逮捕，枪手确认为21岁的Ahmir Merrell。 pic.twitter.com/ocDqhtF6jV
— 国际督察队大队长 (@HarvellLin4852) November 8, 2023
The Capitol area, broken up into multiple separate police jurisdictions, deals with its fair share of incidents. While the best known has been dubbed the Capitol Riot or the January 6 riot, a lesser, deadly incident a few months later received far less media attention.
In April of 2021, Officer Billy Evans was killed when suspect Noah Green rammed one of the barrier checkpoints on the Capitol grounds, hitting another officer who survived the attack.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 8, 2021
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