US Capitol Police destroy pressure cooker in a 'suspicious' vehicle near National Mall

Averting a possible bomb explosion, the US Capitol Police on Sunday evening destroyed a pressure cooker that was found in a suspicious vehicle parked on a National Mall street, reports said Monday.

Washington: Averting a possible bomb explosion, the US Capitol Police on Sunday evening destroyed a pressure cooker that was found in a suspicious vehicle parked on a National Mall street, reports said Monday.

The police on a routine patrol spotted the unattended vehicle and found a pressure cooker along with an odour of gasoline, US Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told a news agency.

The police called the bomb squad immediately and destroyed the suspicious pressure cooker, she added.

The owner of the vehicle was later arrested.

The police added that the bomb squad - Hazardous Devices Section destroyed "items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker" at about 7:45 pm after temporarily closing off the area on the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.

She did not immediately identify the other items but said only that "this safe disruption produced a loud 'bang.

Asked if the "disruption" involved experts detonating those items, she said that was accurate. She said followup searching of the vehicle detected "nothing hazardous."

She said the bomb squad intervention came after authorities had set up a security perimeter around the site on 3rd Street in the nation's capital. She said that street was temporarily closed between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue while authorities investigated. It was unclear how many people were in or near that area at the time.

After the items were destroyed, she said, police conducted a thorough "hand search" of the vehicle and concluded their investigation by about 8:20 pm "with negative results and nothing hazardous found."

Asked whether police had identified any threat to public safety, Schneider told AP via email: "If we can't determine whether or not an item is safe/dangerous, we'd have to treat it as dangerous until we determine otherwise. She added that was "why the items were safely disrupted, out of an abundance of caution." She didn't elaborate.

She added that the vehicle owner was located and her statement identified him as Israel Shimeles of the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. The statement said Shimeles was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with "Operating After Revocation" and was being processed Sunday evening at the police headquarters building.

It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney. Schneider didn't elaborate on the charge.

Schneider also said the city's Metropolitan Police, US Park Police, the US Secret Service, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting Capitol Police.

With Agency Inputs

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