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Bomb threat prompts evacuations at D.C. offices of LGBT advocacy groups

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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WASHINGTON — Offices of the Human Rights Campaign headquarters and a building that houses the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and several other prominent LGBT advocacy groups were evacuated Tuesday afternoon following a bomb scare.

HRC headquarters

District of Columbia police officers, accompanied by bomb detection canines, were called to the national offices of the HRC and the Task Force after police in Los Angeles, Calif., received an unspecified bomb threat against a “national gay rights organization,” reported Metro Weekly.

With the surrounding block cordoned off, police vehicles surrounded the building and prevented pedestrians from approaching as teams led dogs in search of any threat. By 12:50 p.m., MPD called the all-clear and people began re-entering the building.

HRC President Joe Solmonese, returning to the building, said this was the second time that the headquarters, at 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW, had been evacuated since he began as president in March 2005. The other evacuation occurred during the August 2011 earthquake, ”When we thought it really was a bomb,” said Solmonese, due to leave HRC in June.

A few blocks away, at the building that houses the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, at 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, as well as several other non-LGBT entities, staff waited outside as police began searching that address at about 1 p.m.

No devices or threats were found according to a spokesperson for D. C. police.

Karen Ocamb of the L.A.-based LGBT/POV blog, after speaking with LAPD media relations, reported that the threat was made via pay phone “through the 911 system from a caller who stated that he was going to blow up the LGBT building in Washington, D.C.”

The LAPD spokesperson, Detective Gus Villanueva, told Ocamb the call was made at 8 a.m. Pacific Time, but would not release the location of the pay phone.

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