Seattle police arrested a man outside the FBI headquarters in downtown Seattle on Saturday, after he parked a car with a burning tire next to the building and told responding officers he had a bomb, police and FBI officials said.
Police quickly apprehended the man and determined there was no bomb, interim Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz said.
The man, who is being held while police investigate the incident, appears to have been acting alone and isn’t known to be affiliated with any extremist groups, Diaz and Earl Camp, the acting special agent in charge of the FBI”s Seattle office, announced in a joint press conference.
“Right now, it appears to be a lone individual making threats,” Diaz said.
The incident occurred about 1:14 p.m. in an alley behind a building where the FBI houses its Seattle field office at Third Avenue and Spring Street.
Seattle police and fire personnel responded to the scene because a tire on the man’s vehicle was on fire, Diaz said.
“Officers contacted the driver of the vehicle, and the driver noted there was a bomb in the vehicle,” the chief said. “Officers immediately cordoned off the area and shut everything down.”
Police closed stretches of Third and Fourth avenues for several hours Saturday afternoon, while FBI agents and the city’s arson/bomb unit investigated the threat and “determined that there was no bomb inside the vehicle,” Diaz said.
With tensions heightened following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and law enforcement nationwide on alert as Wednesday’s presidential inauguration looms, Camp and Diaz said they’re not aware of specific threats to any buildings or events in Seattle or Washington state.
“We feel that we are in a really good position,” Camp said. “If we do get any indication of a specific threat, we will be in touch with our local law enforcement partners and take every precaution necessary to make sure the citizens of Seattle and Washington state are safe.”
As part of a general precaution to potential threats at state capitol buildings across the nation, the FBI has stood up command posts in all 56 of its field offices nationwide, an agency spokesperson said Friday.