It was a rough weekend for Pennsylvania’s Capitol building.
Offices on four floors of the Senate side were temporarily closed after a Gettysburg man broke in and sprayed a fire extinguisher, potentially damaging historic paintings, police said.
Despite the damage, Capitol police said they won’t be rethinking their security details, which are abbreviated in the iconic building on weekends.
On Sunday morning, two members of the Capitol police present, along with separate House and Senate security forces.
As a result, Capitol police deputy superintendent Kevin Brown said it took about 10 minutes to find and apprehend 27-year-old Ryan Stump, who has been charged with emptying a fire extinguisher on the Capitol’s ground floor around 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
A security officer said he was alerted to the suspect’s presence by the noise of a wooden sign tumbling down a flight of stairs in the Capitol Rotunda.
Drew Crompton, chief of staff for Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, said that 10-minute window gave Stump — who was charged with public drunkenness — enough time to do some serious damage.
“The smoke — or the chemicals — from the fire extinguisher was incredibly strong,” Crompton said. “The cleaning was at least several floors of the Senate.”
Brown said he believes the break-in was a one-time event. Other than reviewing protocols, he said he doesn’t see any reason for Capitol police to change their methods.
“We’re going to take some measures to discuss, you know, things that we may be able to do better,” he said.He noted that he doesn’t fault the officers for not noticing the intruder on security cameras more quickly.
“Our officers have other duties,” he said. “Whether or not they’re watching every single camera every second — I really can’t get into what they actually do as far as video surveillance and how we monitor things.”
Stump has also been charged with four felony counts, including burglary and criminal mischief.
Police said the incident wasn’t politically motivated.