The USA Today headquarters in McLean, Va. were evacuated Wednesday morning after a man with a weapon was reported in the area.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said at a press conference at 11 a.m. PST that the department received a report shortly before noon that a former employee had been seen inside the building armed with a weapon. He explained that special operations officers were currently conducting a search of the building and evacuation of those who had sheltered in place, and that the complex would likely not reported all clear for several more hours due to its size.
He stated that no reports of gunshots had been received, but that police were treating the event as though there was an active shooter in the building “to be on the safe side.” He added that it is unknown whether the purported former employee was an employee of Gannett or one of the other businesses in the complex.
Fairfax County PD tweeted an update around 10 a.m. PST that officers are “currently working to clear the building” and that “we have found no evidence of any acts of violence or injuries.”
USA Today reported that a law enforcement source indicated the call was being treated as a mistake and that there was no indication of a shooter or shooting inside the building.
The Fairfax County Police Department tweeted around 9:25 a.m. PST that it was responding to “reports of a man with weapon at the Gannett Building.”
The police also advised the public to avoid the area.
According to USA Today’s own report about the evacuation, alarms sounded at the building while police responded to the scene, including the presence of a helicopter. USA Today biz trends reporter Nathan Bomey tweeted that the building is shared with several other unrelated companies.
The incident comes two days after a merger between the two biggest newspaper organizations in the country, Gannett (which owns USA Today) and GateHouse Media, was announced.
It also follows on the heels of three mass shootings in the past week that rocked the nation. The combined death toll from the July 28 Gilroy, Calif. shooting and Aug. 3 and 4 El Paso and Dayton shootings reached 34, with numerous others injured.