[ED: Remember, only the police and the military have the specialized training and discipline necessary to be entrusted with the responsibility of carrying a gun outside the home.]
By Michael Balsamo, AP
A U.S. Capitol Police officer fired a gun inside a break room in a House office building on Tuesday and was promptly suspended — the latest stain for a police department struggling to regain the public’s trust following the deadly Jan. 6 riot and a recent communications failure that triggered an evacuation of the Capitol.
The agency said the officer discharged the firearm at around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Cannon House Office Building and its Office of Professional Responsibility launched an investigation. The officer was suspended as the investigation continues, police said.
The circumstances surrounding the gun discharge were unclear, but no injuries were immediately reported.
Last month, the Capitol Police ordered the evacuation of the Capitol — sending congressional staffers fleeing from office buildings — over a plane that was flying near the complex. It turned out the plane was actually carrying members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights who later parachuted into Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, for the team’s Military Appreciation Night.
The Federal Aviation Administration later said it failed to notify the Capitol Police in advance about the flight, leading to the evacuation. The episode represented a stunning communications breakdown, all the more remarkable because of Washington’s focus on improving security following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
In December 2021, police initiated a brief lockdown after a congressional staffer walked into a legislative building with a handgun in his bag and was allowed to proceed through the security checkpoint with it. The staffer was located and apprehended minutes later.