Officials arrested a Charlotte, Michigan, man Thursday suspected of calling in a bomb threat to the state Capitol in Lansing.
Michael Varrone, 48, could face charges Friday, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.
The Michigan State Capitol was closed to lawmakers and staff for about two hours Thursday because of the threat.
The Capitol was already closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic and because the Michigan Legislature is not in session. It remained closed to the public Thursday after the building was deemed safe and lawmakers and staff were allowed in.
Varrone was arrested outside his residence without incident Thursday afternoon by the Michigan State Police Emergency Support Team and Fugitive Team, the release said.
The temporary closure came one day after supporters of President Donald Trump rioted during a Wednesday rally near the U.S. Capitol protesting the presidential election results, forced their way inside the U.S. Capitol, and did considerable damage while delaying the counting of the electoral votes. One rioter was shot by police and died.
In a news release, the Michigan State Police said a man called the state Capitol facilities control center about 6:40 a.m. Thursday and “made a bomb threat.” The man “said everyone needed to evacuate because the building was going to explode,” according to the AG’s Office.
The MSP said that “out of an abundance of caution,” it sent officers to check and secure the building, after closing it to lawmakers and staff.”
“By 9 a.m., the MSP determined the building was safe, and staff were allowed to return,” the release said. There was no bomb.
Sen. Curtis Hertel, a Democrat, said lawmakers were informed of the closure early Thursday morning, but were given no details.
Hertel said it is time to ban guns inside the state Capitol and noted that in April a large group of men, some carrying rifles, crowded into the lobby outside the state House chambers, shouting to be allowed onto the House floor, during a protest at the Capitol against Michigan’s state of emergency over the coronavirus.
If that was not a wake-up call, then what happened Wednesday should be, Hertel said.
The Michigan Capitol Commission, which is controlled by Republicans, has resisted calls to ban guns inside the Capitol.
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