MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A report of a person with a gun led to a lockdown of some government buildings in Vermont’s capital for at least four hours Friday, but no intruder or weapon was found, authorities said.
Police spent hours scouring the facilities, including a five-story structure that houses the Department of Taxes and other offices.
Two buildings remained closed and were being searched by police with dogs, the state said late Friday afternoon.
Staff members were told by a safety officer around 11:30 a.m. that they were being evacuated to the Statehouse in response to the report that a person with a gun was in the building, said Jeff Dooley, who works in the Department of Taxes.
They were let out more than four hours later and allowed to go to parking lots. The keys to his vehicle, however, were still in his office in one of two buildings that was still in lockdown and being searched.
When he heard “gun,” he left quickly without grabbing them, he said.
It wasn’t clear whether the report was called in or reported another way. State Buildings Commissioner Christopher Cole told television station WCAX that there was a report from a member of the public that someone was seen going into the building that houses the tax department with what appeared to be a long gun.
Gov. Phil Scott’s office said earlier that police from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were responding to a report the person entered a building.
A few hours later, state Department of Human Resources had put out a statement saying, “Our understanding is that the situation is well under control and not a danger.”
Still, the news of a search for a person with a gun caused a stir in the wake of recent mass shootings around the country and the shooting of a social worker at a state office building in Barre, Vermont, four years ago.
Jody Herring shot and killed her three relatives and then went to the Department for Children and Families office and killed social worker Lara Sobel as revenge for losing custody of her then-9-year-old daughter. She has been sentenced to life without parole.