USA Today reported that its own headquarters evacuated Wednesday after what it says is a “mistaken report of a person with a weapon.”
Quoting an unidentified federal source not able to speak publicly, USA Today said that there was no indication of a shooting or shots fired.
The McLean, Virginia, building houses not only USA Today, but its parent company, Gannett and other businesses.
According to USA Today, Lt. Eric Ivancic said police received a call at 11:56 a.m. to report the sighting of a man with a gun. Ivancic said police were still investigating, but found no evidence of any shooting or gun. Fairfax County Police have found no evidence of any acts of violence or injuries, it said in a tweet.
Affected employees gave updates on Twitter, too.
Taylor Maycan 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.”
“We’re all fine and it turns out this was a false alarm. But the climate of fear we’re all living in is very, very real. It doesn’t have to be this way. Demand change,”Hemal Jhaveri said .
Tensions around mass shootings and violent attacks are running high in America. Ahead of President Donald Trump’s Wednesday visit to El Paso in the wake of a deadly shooting there, the El Paso Times ran a cover with the headline, “Mr. President, We Are Hurting.”
Wednesday’s evacuation comes one day after a Broadway performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird” came to an abrupt, early end after the sound of motorcycles backfiring outside the Shubert Theatre was mistaken for gunfire by audience and cast members. Videos taken at the scene show people running through Times Square in fear, just days after 30 people were killed in a pair of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
There have also been attacks on newsrooms in recent months. CNN’s New York offices were evacuated in October and December of 2018 due to bomb threats, the first of which came when an explosive device was mailed to the building. A shooting at the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in June of 2018 left five dead.
President Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric has long concerned some journalists. In 2017, Syracuse University journalism professor and media historian Robert Thompson told TheWrap he thinks that journalists should absolutely be nervous on the heels of a recent speech the president gave that called out what he saw as the “truly dishonest people” in the media. Trump called the industry “pathetic,” “dishonest” and “liars.”