Man Taken Into Custody at Capitol Visitor Center

Man Taken Into Custody at Capitol Visitor Center

( – Police arrested a man on March 8 after he tried to enter Congressional buildings on Capitol Hill with a hammer. During screening at the Capitol Visitor Center, officers discovered the hammer in the backpack of 33-year-old Christopher Snow, who reacted angrily when they attempted to open the bag after spotting the potential weapon on an x-ray machine.

A press release from Capitol Police stated that several officers “intervened to stop the suspect,” and a struggle took place during which police used a taser on Snow to subdue him and take him into custody. Captain Andrew Pecher said his officers did what they were trained to do and praised them for their quick and effective action.

Subsequent media reports state that Snow is a native of Ohio, and prosecutors have charged him with assaulting a police officer. It’s unclear what his motive was or if he will face further charges.

The incident follows an arrest in December when a man was found carrying a machete and knife outside the US Capitol. Jose Leonardo Marquez, a 23-year-old immigrant, was first noted loitering near Congress, and after an officer approached him, he saw the handle of a machete protruding from his bag. Police charged him with carrying a dangerous weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) later released a statement saying Marquez entered the US illegally in August 2021, having crossed the border near El Paso, Texas.

A month before the Marquez incident, Ahmir Lavon Merrell was arrested for carrying an AR-15 rifle near the US Senate. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said it wasn’t believed that Merrell intended to harm or target any particular lawmaker, but he warned that his presence so close to Congressional buildings was concerning.

While there was no direct danger to lawmakers on these occasions, Capitol Police data indicates that the force investigated more than 8,000 explicit threats in 2023 – an increase from about 7,500 in 2022 but a reduction from 9,600 the previous year.

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