U.S. Capitol Police officers assigned to the security details of the top two Republicans in Congress mistakenly left their Glock pistols in bathroom stalls in two separate recent incidents, according to a congressional source familiar with an internal investigation into the embarrassing mishaps.
In a similar case, a housekeeper working in the Capitol Police headquarters, a few blocks from the Capitol, found another misplaced gun while cleaning, the source said.
CQ/Roll Call first reported the lost guns, citing an investigative report it had obtained about the incidents that was turned over to the U.S. Capitol Police Board, which oversees the U.S. Capitol Police Department. CQ/Roll Call included a photograph of a Glock and its ammunition magazine stuffed into a toilet seat cover holder in a bathroom stall.
The first incident took place in January when a worker in the Congressional Visitors’ Center found a Glock jammed into the holder. The gun belonged to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail, the congressional source said.
The second incident happened in March, when a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s police detail left a gun after using a toilet in the speaker’s suite of offices in the Capitol. The gun, which CQ/Roll said was loaded, was found by a young child, two congressional sources told CNN. The misplaced gun in the police headquarters was discovered in April, the congressional source said.
The incidents by members of leadership security details were all the more surprising because they are considered elite members of the force, assigned the critical duty of protecting top constitutional officers. Glock pistols, which are issued to Capitol Police officers, do not have safety locks, and law enforcement officers are trained specifically on how to handle them.
In a statement to CNN Friday afternoon, Frank Larkin, the chairman of the Capitol Police Board and the Senate sergeant-at-arms, said the incidents were under investigation. The union that represents Capitol Police officers did not respond to questions about the incidents, and a statement from Capitol Police said it would not discuss the personnel matter.
CG/Roll Call reported that the Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended the officer in the first incident receive a six-day suspension without pay, but added that the other two incidents are still under investigation.
The embarrassing revelation comes as U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine has faced criticism for his handling of the gyrocopter that recently landed on the Capitol grounds, as well other security incidents.
Word of the incidents surprised lawmakers and the congressional community.
“It’s a wakeup call,” Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told reporters on Friday.
In a joint statement, Rep. Candice Miller, R-Michigan, and Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Administration Committee, called the incidents “unacceptable.”
“We will be looking for a full briefing on these incidents, how they happened, what corrective action has been taken, and how we hopefully do not have similar instances in the future,” they said.
Boehner’s office deferred all questions to the Capitol Police.
Cummings said he planned to speak to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz about the matter and said it was possible the committee could hold a hearing.
The House Administration Committee was expected to get a briefing on the matter soon, according to several congressional aides.