Employees at a building that houses Gannett headquarters in McLean, Virginia, were evacuated Wednesday after a report that a former employee showed up to the building with a handgun, police said.
Fairfax County police responded about noon to a report of a man with a weapon at the building, home to USA Today and other businesses about 10 miles from Washington. The building was evacuated, and a SWAT team was at the scene.
Police said there was no evidence of violence or injuries. Authorities asked people to avoid the area.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said during a news conference that police received a 911 call from inside the building that a former employee was seen inside with a weapon. Roessler said officers have not found the man, but the search is ongoing.
"We have not verified that," he said. "We are treating the event as though there's an active shooter in the building to be on the safe side."
He said police have a "person of interest" in the investigation, but he didn't release other details about the person. The building is home to several companies, and Roessler did not say where the former employee might have worked.
"We do not have any reports of gunshots being fired," Roessler said. "It is going to take several more hours to clear the building."
USA Today reported that alarms sounded inside the building as officers with rifles and body armor patrolled the area.
Lucas Looney, an employee of Vision Point Systems, was headed to lunch with a co-worker about 12:20 p.m., when he was greeted by police leaving an elevator.
"We need to get everyone out of the building," Looney said he was told.
Looney said the public address system began blaring with reports to leave the building. Soon afterward, he left and joined a stream of other people evacuating. He saw no other signs of problems.
On Monday, GateHouse Media announced it would purchase Gannett for $1.4 billion, creating a company that would own more than 250 daily newspapers and hundreds of weekly and community papers.
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The Washington Post's Laurel Demkovich contributed to this report.