WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than a half dozen U.S. Secret Service officers on Thursday took two men into custody from a car in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood and removed what seemed to be an assault-style rifle from the vehicle, a Reuters witness said.
The two men were handcuffed and separated, according to the Reuters reporter who witnessed the incident. The witness said the officers also pulled what appeared to be body armor components from the car. The vehicle was a black four-door Ford sedan with Indiana plates that said Marine Corps Veteran.
The Washington Post reported that the two arrested men told police they had driven from Indiana to volunteer to fight in the war in Ukraine. The spot from where they were arrested was near the Ukrainian embassy in Georgetown. The Secret Service and Washington police did not respond to a request for comment on the newspaper report.
A Secret Service spokesperson told Reuters that the two individuals were “acting suspiciously” near the vehicle in the area of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Northwest, and were arrested for possession of illegal weapons. The spokesperson did not elaborate further.
One of the suspects wore tan pants and a black hoodie, while the other wore a camouflage-style jacket and a baseball cap, according to the witness and photographs from the scene.
The Secret Service, which provides protection for the president, vice president and their families, said the arrested individuals, whose identities were not disclosed, were transported to a Washington police department facility for processing.
A law enforcement official told Reuters that there was no information to suggest that there was any danger or threat to any of the protectees of the Secret Service. The Secret Service’s website says the agency had 41 people under its protection in fiscal 2020.
The incident occurred in the heart of Georgetown, an upscale neighborhood of shops and homes popular with tourists. The area is also home to many current and former government officials.
Police removed multiple military-style bags from the car, like duffles and packs, mostly Army green, and emptied their contents on the trunk and the street, video from the incident showed. Some items, including what appeared to be body armor plates, were laid on the ground and photographed by officers.
(Reporting by Peter Eisler in Washington; writing by Kanishka Singh; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Tim Ahmann and Richard Pullin)