MCLEAN, Va. — Police in Virginia responded on Wednesday to reports of a man with a weapon at an office building in suburban Washington that is occupied by USA Today and its publisher, Gannett.
Fairfax County police spokesman Sgt. Greg Bedor told CNN that police have responded to a caller saying they saw a man with a weapon at the building in McLean, Virginia.
The headquarters of @usatoday was evacuated today amid a heavy police presence, including officers in tactical gear armed with rifles. Police confirmed they were responding to a report of a person with a weapon. Developing. https://t.co/hBJtm99LvA
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 7, 2019
Police are not aware of any reports that shots have been fired, Bedor said, and a tweet from Fairfax County Police shortly after 1 p.m. ET said authorities had not found “evidence of any acts of violence or injuries.”
Police have evacuated the building as a precaution and are asking people to move to a different location, as is standard protocol.
Chrissy Terrell, a USA Today spokeswoman, said that “police are looking” for a possible man with weapon and confirmed there is no indication of shots fired.
The incident comes amid a heightened nationwide alert to gun violence following weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Newsroom staffers tweeted videos from the scene after they were evacuated and described a heavy police presence.
“Fingers crossed this is just a false alarm,” USA Today sports digital producer Casey Moore wrote on Twitter.
Top editors gathered along with others from the newsroom and listened to the police scanner for updates on the search of the building.
The evacuation and some false claims on social media about an “active shooter” sparked concern for Gannett staffers and their loved ones.
Taylor Maycan, a podcast producer at USA Today, 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.”
Gannett’s offices in McLean handle newsroom operations and corporate functions like marketing and circulation. The company is the country’s biggest newspaper publisher by circulation, with its flagship USA Today and dozens of smaller papers.