Later that day, Mr. Bowman said in a statement that he had not intended to set off the alarm. He had done so by accident, he said, while he was rushing to make a vote and found that the door he usually exited from to head to the Capitol would not open.
“I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused,” Mr. Bowman said at the time. “But I want to be very clear: This was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote. It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote.”
A Capitol Police affidavit states that security footage shows Mr. Bowman trying to push open one side of the exit door. When it did not open, he tried the other side, which did not open either. He then turned to his left, looked at the fire alarm and pulled it.
The Capitol Police opened an investigation and shared their evidence with prosecutors upon its conclusion.
“Representative Bowman’s excuse does not pass the sniff test,” said Representative Bryan Steil, Republican of Wisconsin and the chairman of the Administration Committee, which oversees the Capitol Police and which opened its own investigation into the incident. “After pulling the fire alarm, Representative Bowman fled the scene, passed by multiple Capitol Police officers and had every opportunity to alert U.S.C.P. of his mistake.”
Mr. Steil added that he encouraged the House Ethics Committee to “further pursue this matter.”