World

No gunman found after reports force evacuation of USA Today building

The headquarters of USA Today was evacuated Wednesday afternoon as police responded to reports of a man with a weapon in the building outside Washington.

A significant police presence responded after reports of man with a gun around midday at paper's headquarters

A Fairfax Police tactical officer walks near the building that houses Gannett and USA Today in McLean, Va. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

The Virginia head office of USA Today was evacuated Wednesday afternoon as police responded to reports of a man with a weapon in the building outside Washington.

The newspaper reported that alarms sounded and police squad cars converged on the scene as employees waited outside.

Law enforcement officers with rifles and body armour patrolled the area and a helicopter hovered overhead.

Officers were working to clear the building, Fairfax County police said. The department tweeted shortly after 1 p.m. that at that time, officers hadn't found "evidence of any acts of violence or injuries."

The incident came as the U.S. reels from its latest mass shootings — at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio. A combined 31 people were killed and dozens wounded in less than 24 hours in those two weekend attacks.

Photos from the scene Wednesday in McLean, Va., showed flags flying at half-mast.

The incident occurred just two days after GateHouse Media, a fast-growing chain backed by an investment firm, announced it was buying USA Today's owner, Gannett, in a $1.4-billion US merger of two of the largest U.S. newspaper companies.