The Remsen building of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria will be closed for the rest of the week after what the USPTO has called an “Alexandria Campus Incident”.
Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett said police received a call at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, for a person having a mental health crisis.
“APD reported to the scene and with the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Protective Services we were able to make contact with the subject and connect them with services,” Bassett said.
Despite rumors circulating among staffers left in the dark about what was happening, Bassett said no one was killed during the incident.
A memo to employees at the USPTO from Fred Steckler, Chief Administrative Office for the USPTO, said police were on campus to “protect an individual in distress.” The letter provided few other details about what happened other than it was under control, but urged workers in the building to be discrete about what took place at the building.
“While I truly understand the natural human instinct to want to know more, I’d like to encourage empathy and privacy for those most directly impacted,” Steckler wrote. “We will always do our best to communicate relevant information about safety and security to you, while exercising discretion and protecting individual privacy.”
While Steckler’s memo indicated that the office would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, a USPTO spokesperson confirmed that the office would be closed until Saturday, though they would not comment on why.
Some in the patent examiner subreddit noted intensely stressful working conditions in the building and cited previous incidents of violence in the building: notably a malicious wounding in 2016 after a former examiner returned to the office after being fired and stabbed a DJ at a work event.
Photo via Google Maps
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