Police: Armed man arrested during Obama address

Friday, September 11, 2009

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Capitol Police have arrested a Virginia man they say tried to drive into a secure area near the Capitol with a shotgun and rifle in his car as the president gave his health care address to Congress.

Joshua Bowman, 28, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested around 8 p.m. Wednesday and charged with two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition. Each carries a possible one-year jail sentence and $1,000 fine.

Bowman's intentions were unclear, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, but the U.S. attorney's office in Washington decided against prosecuting him on more serious charges, said spokesman Benjamin Friedman.

Schneider said Bowman approached a security checkpoint near the Cannon House Office Building in a four-door Honda Civic and told officers he wanted to park.

People who want to drive into the area must have a permit and have their vehicles searched. The timing of the request raised an officer's suspicion, Schneider said, and Bowman consented to a vehicle search.

A shotgun, rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition were found in Bowman's trunk, said Erica Stanley, a spokeswoman for the District of Columbia mayor's office.

A telephone directory lists a Joshua Bowman in Falls Church, but the telephone rang unanswered Thursday afternoon.

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