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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Armed intruder prompts lockdown at Joint Base Andrews as vice president lands

Heavy traffic on Perimeter Road at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Md., on Sunday night.

By Alyssa Lukpat and Zach Montague

A 17-year-old was arrested and another person got away after they drove through a checkpoint at the military base in Maryland that the president and the vice president use to travel to and from Washington, military officials said.

The teenager, who was not identified, was armed when he was apprehended, they said.

The security breach at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in suburban Washington, happened Sunday night at about the time that Vice President Kamala Harris and four Cabinet members landed at the base, which was put on lockdown for several hours.

After the pair drove through the checkpoint at the base’s main gate, authorities stopped their vehicle with “barriers,” the base said in a statement. The two then fled the vehicle, which authorities said was stolen. The 17-year-old was apprehended and remains in custody, and a sweep of the based determined that the second intruder had “departed the installation.”

No shots were fired during the incident, the base said.

Harris, her husband, Doug Emhoff, and the four Cabinet members — Education Secretary Miguel Cardona; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge; and Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency — had just arrived at the base on Air Force Two at the time of the security breach, according to reporters who were traveling with them.

Harris and Emhoff, who were returning from a trip to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the civil rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, were safely flown off the base on Marine Two, the vice-presidential helicopter. It was unclear if they left before or after they heard about the lockdown, according to the reporters who had traveled to Alabama with Harris.

In February 2021, an intruder at the base boarded a plane typically used by senior government officials and military leaders. The breach prompted authorities to order a review of security at Air Force bases worldwide.

A similar lockdown at the base happened in 2016 after there were reports of an active gunman, grounding then-Vice President Joe Biden’s flight to Ohio. It came the same day the base had planned to hold an active shooter response drill. The reports of a gunman turned out to be false.

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