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Capitol police arrest Va. man with fake ID, gun as officials brace for inauguration

By
Jean Lotus
Security in Washington, D.C., has tightened in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden with the National Park Service restricting assess to the National Mall. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
Security in Washington, D.C., has tightened in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden with the National Park Service restricting assess to the National Mall. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Capitol police in Washington, D.C., said they arrested a Virginia man who tried to enter a restricted area and was found to have fake credentials and a loaded high-capacity magazine gun.

Wesley Allen Beeler, of Front Royal, Va., presented unauthorized credentials at a security checkpoint at North Capitol Street and E Street Northwest about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

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Police searching his decal-covered Ford-150 truck found a gun with a high-capacity magazine inserted and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, local NBC news reported.

Beeler was charged by D.C. police with possession of a concealed weapon, possessing an unregistered firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

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The arrest comes as officials prepare for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden Wednesday.

Federal officials say they are confident the event will unfold safely, but last week's siege on the U.S. Capitol building has stoked fears of further violence.

Amtrak announced Saturday that the rail line would suspend service south of the District of Columbia due to heightened concerns over potential violence at the Jan. 20 swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden.

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"After last week's violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are taking extra steps to continue ensuring the safety of our employees and customers in Washington D.C. and across our network as we prepare for the Inauguration," the company said.

Service will be suspended on the Northeast Regional line south of Washington, including all Virginia stations, Amtrak said in a statement. Additionally, the Carolinian line will only operate between Raleigh and Charlotte.

All rail customers will be required to wear masks, and Amtrak will beef up police security on all trains, the company said.

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In further preparations for the inauguration, the National Park Service announced that the National Mall would be temporarily closed to the public until Thursday, Jan. 21.

Closures will include the Lincoln Memorial, the White House Complex and the Memorial Bridge, as well as other areas and monuments constituting the "core areas" of the National Mall, the agency said.

The park service said First Amendment activities, including protests of the 59th presidential inauguration, would be limited to areas near the U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park. All demonstrators will be screened by federal agents, the agency said.

Washington has been on a state of alert after the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, with tens of thousands of National Guard troops and Secret Service agents stationed in the city to discourage threats of armed protestors during the inauguration. Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference that the city will block off streets around the Capitol. The city has closed Metro stations and advised tens of thousands of federal workers to stay home.

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Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, which has the lead role in domestic intelligence and counterterrorism for the inauguration, said Thursday at the Federal Management Agency that the agency has seen indications of possible threats.

"We know who you are if you are out there and FBI agents are coming to find you," he said. "My advice to people who might engage in the type of activity we saw last week is stay home."

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