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Police: Person called saying they were going to "shoot everyone" at Maryland State House

Police: Person called saying they were going to "shoot everyone" at Maryland State House
Police: Person called saying they were going to "shoot everyone" at Maryland State House 00:15

BALTIMORE - An unidentified male called the Annapolis Police Department saying he was armed with a gun and was going to the State House, which prompted a lockdown and shelter-in-place on Thursday, police said.

Police said the male said that he was going to enter the State House through the rear door and "shoot everyone" he saw.  

Within seconds of receiving the call, around 5 p.m., police said officers responded to the State House grounds.

Officers entered the State House with guns and searched the premises where nothing was located.

 The lockdown and shelter-in-place was lifted around 6:52 p.m. 

Annapolis Police said that as soon as they received a call from someone threatening to target the State House, they notified the Maryland Capitol Police, Maryland State Police, Anne Arundel County Police, and security personnel in the House and Senate buildings.

Maryland Capitol Police then placed the Maryland State House, Government House, and House and Senate Office Buildings on lockdown and shelter-in-place.

The lockdown was lifted nearly two hours after law enforcement responded to the threat.  

"Lockdown has been lifted, my team and I left the State House several minutes ago," Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson said.

The State House was gradually evacuated while police coordinated sweeps through the State House, Senate and House and surrounding grounds.

"We saw multiple police with their rifles or pistols drawn," former Maryland Senator John Pica said. 

Reaction from Maryland State House after threat called in 17:40

The governor, lieutenant governor and senate president were escorted from the building.

"Our family is grateful for the members of the Maryland Capitol Police, Maryland State Police, Annapolis Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department who secured the State House Grounds and kept us safe today," Maryland Governor Wes Moore said. "These brave men and women aren't just Maryland's finest – they're Maryland's promise. They define what it means to be a Marylander."  

So far, no suspects have been identified, nor have any suspicious items been found, police said. 

The state settled a contract on Friday with Motorola to implement a text alert system that would warn an individual to seek safety in the event of an emergency  

Senator Johnny Ray Salling, from Baltimore County, told WJZ he was in a state budget meeting at the time.

"I think we were the last to know because we were on the very top floor," Salling said.

Salling and other lawmakers told WJZ that little information was given to them about what was happening.

"We were told first there was an active shooter," Salling said. "Then they told us there was a threat."

Adam Dubitsky, who worked for former Gov. Larry Hogan, told WJZ that officers went inside the State House with guns drawn.

"Around 5 p.m., I was walking past the State House on State Circle, the loop that goes around it, and an Annapolis City Police car showed up," Dubitsky said. "The officer got out very quickly with their gun drawn and started rushing toward the State House."

Dubwitsky described what happened next.

"There was no yelling, other than telling people to get off the sidewalk, but they had the tactical team lined up, and also regular uniformed officers, as you've seen in all too many unfortunate videos," Dubitsky said. "They all just entered the building, There was not a lot of commotion, not a lot of panic. They just simply looked like they were going through the motions of what they had to do." 

 Pamela Wood, from our media partner at The Baltimore Banner, was in the State House when officers entered the State House.

"We were told, 'everybody shut your door, lock your door, turn off your lights,' The Banner's Pamela Wood said. "We hid in our office for 20 or 30 minutes or so before police came in."

Wood said dozens of employees, visitors, staff and journalists were in the State House when the lockdown happened.

"It's very scary when you are at work and you hear people yelling, that there's a threat and you have to lock your doors and be quiet," Wood said. "I was very shaken for a while. Gun violence and workplace violence is such a problem in our society and in our country."  

Wood said Gov. Moore was scheduled to host a reception with mayors from across the state at the Governor's Mansion, a stone's throw from the State House, which has police presence. 

Maryland Del. Michele Guyton said, "My staff and I are okay but this is definitely a scary situation in Annapolis right now."

Outside of the state house, Pica, who has an office nearby, recorded video from his window. He let people take shelter in his office.

"We had about 15 people in the office for about an hour, hour and a half," Pica said.

Even though the lockdown ended peacefully, many are concerned something like this happened in the middle of session.

"We don't want to see these type of things," Delegate Caylin Young said. "We don't want to see people threatening our institutions."

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