Hart Building Open for Regular Business Today
Man Held Police at Bay for 8 Hours Before Climbing Down from 7th-Floor Ledge

By Elissa Silverman, Martin Weil and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 12:17 PM

A New York man climbed onto a 7th-floor ledge overlooking the atrium of a Senate building yesterday and held police negotiators at bay for more than eight hours before agreeing to climb down to safety early this morning, U.S. Capitol Police said today.

Yuan Fang, 66, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct about 2 a.m., after he left the ledge of the Hart Senate Office Building and climbed back over the railing to a walkway, from which he could descend to the ground floor, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman.

Yuan, who police said had limited understanding of English but spoke Mandarin, climbed over a protective barrier and onto the ledge about 5:45 p.m. yesterday. Capitol Police negotiators, working with a D.C. police translator, communicated with him, Schneider said.

About 1 a.m., Yuan appeared to be tiring, Schneider said. He agreed to give up his perch about an hour later. She did not say whether police learned why Yuan was on the ledge, or how they convinced him to come down.

The Senate was in session yesterday evening when Yuan climbed over the rail, but the incident did not appear to affect activities on the floor. The session adjourned about 7 p.m.

There was no indication that Yuan had made threats or carried weapons.

The area of the upper floor where he climbed over the railing is closest to the offices of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). There was no indication that he had business with any Senate offices.

In addition to Capitol Police, city fire and rescue workers and D.C. police officers were at Hart, the newest of the Senate's three office buildings. Second Street NE directly in front of the office building was closed by police tape between C Street and Maryland Avenue NE. Otherwise, the incident appeared to cause little disruption.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company