WASHINGTON — Police said they’ve “found no evidence of any acts of violence or injuries” after USA Today’s Virginia headquarters was evacuated Wednesday amid reports of a man with a weapon in the building.
Fairfax County police confirmed they responded to the McLean, Virginia building, roughly 10 miles outside of Washington, home to media company Gannett.
USA Today called the report of a person with a weapon “mistaken.”
The paper reported that alarms sounded and police squad cars converged on the scene Wednesday as employees waited outside. Law enforcement officers with rifles and body armor patrolled the area and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Fairfax County police in a tweet urged people to avoid the area, but provided no other immediate details.
A USA Today reporter confirmed the evacuation on Twitter.
Fairfax County police spokesman Sgt. Greg Bedor told CNN that police have responded to a caller saying they saw a man with a weapon at the building.
Police are not aware of any reports that shots were fired, Bedor said.
Police evacuated the building as a precaution and asked people to move to a different location, as is standard protocol. Newsroom staffers tweeted videos from the scene after they were evacuated and described a heavy police presence.
The incident comes amid a heightened nationwide alert to gun violence following weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left at least 31 people dead.
“Fingers crossed this is just a false alarm,” USA Today sports digital producer Casey Moore wrote on Twitter.
Top editors gathered along with others from the newsroom and listened to the police scanner for updates on the search of the building.
The evacuation and some false claims on social media about an “active shooter” sparked concern for Gannett staffers and their loved ones.
Taylor Maycan, a podcast producer at USA Today, tweeted, “I never expected to be on the receiving end of a call from my parents — breathless, panicked + completely terrified — asking if I’m alive and OK. And I never want to be again.”
Gannett’s offices in McLean handle newsroom operations and corporate functions like marketing and circulation. The company is the country’s biggest newspaper publisher by circulation, with its flagship USA Today and dozens of smaller papers.
Police tweeted about a reunification center for anyone impacted the by incident.AlertMe