WASHINGTON – A man upset over custody of his child threatened to blow up his van a block from the White House on Tuesday, prompting a 41/2-hour standoff with police, authorities said.
The incident ended peacefully after police used a robot to deliver a telephone to the man and talked him into surrendering.
Portions of several streets were closed during the standoff, creating traffic gridlock in downtown Washington. A motorcade carrying President Bush (search) was diverted to a different White House entrance. Bush was returning from a speech elsewhere in the city.
Debra Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, said the man claimed to have 15 gallons of gasoline. He said he would "blow it up if he doesn't get his child back," she said.
The man was not immediately identified. He was driving a red van with Michigan license plates.
The standoff began at about 3:30 p.m. at the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, along the parade route that Bush will travel after his inauguration Thursday.
Nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution and police moved in vehicles to block the van.