U.S. Capitol evacuated after airspace incident

A small plane passed into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., on Saturday afternoon and was uncommunicative with air-traffic controllers, prompting officials to hurriedly evacuate the U.S. Capitol Building, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court as fighter jets raced to intercept it, authorities said.

D.C. and Capitol Police spokesmen said air-traffic controllers were soon able to resume communication with the plane, and those cleared from the buildings were let back in. Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh said two F-16 fighter jets under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted the plane and escorted it out of the area, and it eventually landed in Mount Airy, N.C.

Officials said the plane’s pilot did not appear to harbor any malicious intent. Still, the incident served as a reminder that for those who live in Washington that the threat of an attack is a constant — no matter how insubstantial it proves to be.

“In an era of increased national security threats, unidentified aircraft operating in restricted airspace are taken very seriously, especially in and around the nation’s capital,” said Officer Araz Alali, a D.C. police spokesman.

The plane, a Mooney M20C, was headed south from an airport in Westfield, Mass., when it crossed into the restricted area over D.C., Marsh said. He said it was “out of communications with air-traffic controllers,” and the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled the jets to intercept it about 1:30 p.m.

Ross Feinstein, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman, posted on Twitter that it seemed that the pilot was “just confused” and that the incident did not “appear to be anything nefarious.” He said law enforcement officials were interviewing the man.

The FAA said in a statement that it would investigate the incident.

According to witnesses and police, the evacuation was ordered sometime before 2 p.m. and the all-clear was given before 2:30 p.m.

— Matt Zapotosky

Man shot, seriouslywounded in Northeast

A man was shot and seriously wounded Saturday afternoon in Northeast D.C., authorities said.

The incident occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. in the 600 block of 57th Street NE, authorities said. A D.C. police spokesman said the man had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was unconscious when emergency personnel arrived to take him to the hospital.

Homicide detectives were called to investigate the case, authorities said. It is unclear what sparked the shooting.

— Matt Zapotosky

Shooting victimID’d in Southeast

Police have identified the man shot to death early Friday morning in Southeast D.C. as 23-year-old Cortez Carter, of Capitol Heights, Md.

Carter was found shot to death just after midnight in the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace SE after police were called for a report of gunfire. Police did not release any information about a suspect or motive in the case.

— Matt Zapotosky

Lifeguard found deadin Pr. George’s pool

Police and fire officials are probing the death of a lifeguard who was found unconscious Saturday in the New Carrollton area pool where he worked, authorities said.

The lifeguard, a man believed to be in his 40s, was found floating in the pool of an apartment complex in the 5400 block of 85th Avenue just before 1 p.m., authorities said. Rescuers pulled him from the pool and attempted to perform CPR, but the man could not be revived, authorities said.

How the man got in the pool — and how precisely he died — remained unclear Saturday afternoon. Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, said the pool management company for which the man worked had tried to get in touch with him Saturday, and when he did not respond to calls, the company sent another lifeguard to check on him. The other guard found him floating in the pool, Brady said.

Though the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department initially referred to the man as a “drowning victim,” Brady said officials would have to wait for an autopsy to make that determination conclusively. Officials believe he might have been in the process of cleaning it before it was to open for the day. The man was wearing shoes when he was found, Brady said.

New Carrollton police said in a news release that there were “no signs of foul play.” They said the man was last seen about 11 the night before.

Neither police nor fire officials identified the man, saying relatives had to be notified of his death.

— Matt Zapotosky