Streets Closed for Suspicious U-Haul Downtown

An area of southwest D.C. was blocked Tuesday due to a suspicious U-Haul truck.

The truck was parked in front of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building at 400 Maryland Avenue SW, NBC Washington's Pat Collins reported.

In a routine police investigation of the truck, a bomb-sniffing dog alerted while next to the truck, Collins reported, so Independence Avenue was closed from Fourth Street to Seventh Street while the FBI investigated. Part of the Johnson Building was evacuated.

At about 2:25 p.m., police backed away from the truck, Collins reported. At about 2:50 p.m. two men without protective gear inspected under and around the truck before cutting the lock with bolt cutters and opening the truck.

Inside, investigators found a cowboy hat, an upside-down end table, several bags and clothing that looked like it had just come from the cleaners, Collins reported.

Authorities also found a small handgun, which has been confiscated.

Investigators are checking out the person who rented the U-Haul, Collins reported.

Leonda Levchuk, a spokeswoman for the National Museum of the American Indian, said the situation did not affect the museums along Independence Avenue, the Associated Press reported. The staff received an e-mail alert from Smithsonian security advising them of the situation.

The incident was cleared and streets reopened before 4 p.m. The U-Haul has not been moved.

Stay with NBC Washington for updates as they become available.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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