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Capitol Police investigating Jamaal Bowman's pulling of fire alarm ahead of shutdown vote

Washington — U.S. Capitol Police said Monday that it is investigating an incident in which Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a Capitol Hill office building ahead of a last-minute vote to fund the government and avert a shutdown.

In a brief statement that did not name the congressman, the Capitol Police said it "continues to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the fire alarm that resulted in the evacuation of the Cannon House Office Building."

Security video shows Bowman trying to leave the building before he pulled the fire alarm, according to the statement.

"On security video, a man was seen trying to exit the door in the Cannon Building and then pulling the fire alarm that prompted the evacuation," the statement said. 

The statement noted that signs "with clear language" explained that those doors were "secured and marked as an emergency exit only." 

Bowman admitted Saturday he had activated the fire alarm that led to the office building being evacuated. He said he was "rushing to make" the vote and "came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open."

"I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused," he said. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman leaves the U.S. Capitol Building on May 23, 2023.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman leaves the U.S. Capitol Building on May 23, 2023. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Republicans have accused Bowman of triggering the alarm in an effort to delay the House vote on a short-term spending bill, an allegation Bowman denied.

"I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote," Bowman said Saturday. "It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open." 

The Capitol building itself, where the vote was taking place, was not evacuated.

"The fire alarm only sounded in the Cannon Building, so that was the only building that was evacuated," Capitol Police said. 

On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California said the House Ethics Committee should investigate Bowman. 

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