(UPDATED 1:05p) LAPD Detective Gus Villanueva from Media Relations just told me:
This morning LAPD received a call through the 911 system from a caller who stated that he was going to blow up the LGBT building in Washington DC. The call was received shortly after 8:00am this morning. LAPD immediately made notifications to law enforcement officials in Washington DC to advise them of the threat.
The LAPD immediately launched an investigation into the threat since it appeared to have been generated from a local pay phone. As of 12:30pm, there has been no additional evidence to validate the threat. The investigation is ongoing and we will continue to coordinate our effort with our counterparts in Washington DC. The LGBT authorities were notified by Washington Metro Police Department and they have taken measures to ensure the safety of their patrons and employees.
Det. Villanueva also said it is routine for the LAPD to notify any agency, individuals or entities where the threat is located to “ensure public safety.” He said they don’t know yet whether the call was credible or not, nor would he release any more information such as the location of the pay phone from which the call was made.
A spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign told LGBT political reporters at around 12:45 Eastern time, that “out of an abundance of caution,” HRC had evacuated its prominent building in Washington DC to allow the building to be searched by bomb-sniffing dogs. Shortly thereafter, police are on the scene gave an “all clear” to all HRC staff to return to their offices.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other organizations that occupy the same building also evacuated in advance of police arriving to search their premises, as well.
A number of LGBT reporters in DC are following the story. I’ll update when more information becomes available.
(UPDATE 12:00p) MetroWeekly reports that the notification of the bomb threat came from the Los Angeles Police Department:
Following a reported bomb threat, the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT organizations in Washington evacuated their offices today. According to Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president for communications, the Los Angeles Police Department received an unspecified bomb threat against a ”national gay rights organization,” which led the LAPD to notify the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department of the threat, which subsequently notified HRC and others.
An HRC email to staff quickly circulated among other groups, such as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Black Justice Coalition and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.
”In the utmost of caution we are evacuating the building so that the police can conduct a sweep using the bomb-sniffing dogs,” that email, sent at 11:58 a.m., read in part. ”We need everyone to leave the building until further notice. We estimate that this will take at least an hour.”
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.
I have a call into the LAPD and will update when they give me more information.