USA Today's Virginia HQ evacuated amid reports of man with weapon

Employees inside a northern Virginia office building that houses Gannett headquarters and its flagship outlet USA Today were evacuated Wednesday amid reports of an armed man on the premises, officials and the newspaper said.

"We are responding to reports of a man with weapon at the Gannett Building located at 7950 Jones Branch Drive in McLean. Please avoid the area," Fairfax County Police tweeted at 12:25 p.m.

But about a half-hour later, a police source told NBC News said there was no gunman.

"We are working to investigate this reported threat," the police source said. "Officers are currently working to clear the building. At this time, we have found no evidence of any acts of violence or injuries."

Building employees could be seen on videos posted to social media leaving the building.

Americans are on edge in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio,that left 31 people dead within 24 hours this past weekend.

Panicked pedestrians in New York City fled Times Square on Tuesday night, mistaking a motorcycle's backfire for gunshots.

This evacuated Gannett building is less than 50 miles away from headquarters of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where a gunman broke in and killed five people in June 2018.

Earlier this week, GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, announced it was buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. for $12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $1.4 billion.

The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. along with more than 300 weeklies. It would be the largest U.S. newspaper company by far, with a print circulation of 8.7 million, 7 million more than the new No. 2, McClatchy, according to media expert Ken Doctor.

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