Man with AR-15 Arrested by Police Near Capitol Building

( – A disheveled black man carrying an AR-15 was spotted by a local resident and quickly reported to the D.C. Capitol Police before anything tragic happened. Ahmir Lavon Merrell, 21, from Atlanta, was allegedly toting the loaded semi-automatic weapon in a park next to the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill when a passerby saw him.

Merrell appeared to be in the midst of a mental health crisis and was taken to a hospital for observation before being charged. Brianna Burch, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police, said they expect multiple forthcoming charges including possession of a gun on Capitol grounds after he’s released from medical authorities.

She further said that Merrell is a registered predator in the state of Georgia and suffers from “mental health issues.”

He was spotted toting a modified AR-15 which lacked a stock around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Police said he was in the Lower Senate Park heading toward Union Station when they encountered him. They reported asking him to put the weapon down multiple times before stunning him into submission with a taser. No shots were fired during the interaction.

A suspicious bag left on a bench in the area was also reported to the police which they said also belonged to Merrell. They did not indicate if they had found anything else besides the weapon on Merrell at the time of his arrest.

Police announced his arrest and gave the all-clear shortly before 1 p.m. on X (Twitter) saying that they had no reason to suspect there was an ongoing threat. It’s unclear how he arrived in D.C. or where he acquired the weapon, police said.

USCP Chief Tom Manger reminded everyone of their responsibility to remain observant and report any suspicious activity to the police. He was proud of the officers who performed the arrest, noting that they heroically ran towards a man with a loaded gun.

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