News

Standoff halts traffic, work for hours at California Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A vehicle covered in scribbled writing blocked traffic across from the California Capitol on Monday, stopping traffic for hours, leading police to close nearby businesses and disrupting some government operations as officers tried to talk to a man inside.

A man inside the suspicious car voluntarily surrendered around 4 p.m., more than two hours after the standoff began, and police were searching the vehicle for explosive devices, said Officer Matthew McPhail of the Sacramento Police.

“Even though the man is now out of the vehicle, we don’t yet know the entirety of why he was here or what his purpose was,” McPhail said. “Making sure that that vehicle’s been rendered safe (and) is not a risk is a priority for us.”

The man parked in the middle of a busy street outside the north entrance to the Statehouse around 1:45 p.m., blocking three lanes of traffic, leading police to close restaurants and clear businesses for several blocks.

The state Assembly ended business early Monday afternoon because of the standoff outside and two of three entrances to the state capitol were closed. Capitol tours continued and visitors joined people who work downtown to watch the scene unfold throughout the afternoon.

McPhail said SWAT and hostage personnel tried to speak with the driver, who could be seen posting handwritten notes on the windshield, but he did not speak to them.

The street remained closed for hours after the man surrendered Monday. A police robot could be seen approaching it in television footage.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that it is Officer Matthew McPhail, not Michael McPhail.