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Threat Forces California Lawmakers to Cancel, Work Elsewhere

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Democratic Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, waits for an elevator in the nearly empty state Capitol after a "credible threat" forced lawmakers out of the building. (Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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The suspect who made “credible threats” against California’s Capitol on Thursday shot a gun from his vehicle while driving through two Sacramento suburbs on Wednesday night, lodging bullets in the wall of a hospital and a commercial building but injuring no one, authorities said.

The suspect remains on the loose, the California Highway Patrol said just before noon.

The threat forced California’s Assembly to cancel its Thursday session. Senators evacuated to work in a new location. The Capitol is open to the public.

The two prior shootings were in Roseville and Citrus Heights, two cities northeast of Sacramento.

The Roseville Police Department said in a statement it received a call late Wednesday about someone shooting a gun from a vehicle while driving through Citrus Heights and, later, a suspect shooting toward a hospital in Roseville from the parking lot. Two bullets were lodged in the exterior of the building, the department said.

“At this time, we believe this suspect may also be related to an incident at the State Capitol,” the department said in a statement. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

CHP provided no additional details on the substance of the threat to the Capitol or when and how it was made.

State senators and their staff members were notified about the threat involving the building in an email Thursday morning from Senate Secretary Erika Contreras.

“The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has notified the Senate of a threat they consider to be credible involving the Capitol,” Contreras wrote. “The CHP and security partners are present in higher numbers in the Capitol area, and are alert of the situation.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins said in a joint statement that they relocated the Senate and ended the Assembly session early “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We apologize for the adjustments and interruptions to the members of the public who planned to come to the Capitol today to make their voices heard,” they said. “In this situation, we must put everyone’s safety and security first. We encourage everyone to stay alert and stay safe.”

Public Allowed to Enter Building

The Assembly canceled its session, said John Ferrera, chief of staff for Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. Staffers were told to “remain situationally aware and report any suspicious activity,” said a memo from Chief Administrative Officer Lia Lopez.

The California Highway Patrol did not respond to repeated calls and emails seeking additional comment on the threat.

Senate and Assembly officials said there was an increased police presence at the Capitol. But business appeared to go on as usual on Thursday, with a rally taking place outside and people walking around the park that surrounds the building. As of about 10 a.m. the public was allowed to enter the building and people, including school children, were taking tours.

Earlier some people had been turned away from entering, the Los Angeles Times reported. But the Capitol building was not placed on official lockdown, said John Casey, a spokesperson for Rendon.

Contreras said the session has been moved to another state building nearby. The session, set to start at 9 a.m., was delayed by 45 minutes. She instructed staff who had not yet arrived at work to stay home and told those already in their offices to remain in place.

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