U.S. Capitol Police Lock Down Building, Shots Fired Outside

The U.S. Capitol was temporarily locked down today after reports of gunfire outside the building. A female suspect was taken to a hospital after being shot by police, said Terrance Gainer, the Senate sergeant-at-arms.

Police took a child who was in the woman’s car to the hospital, Gainer said. The child wasn’t injured, he said.

At least one Capitol police officer was injured when his car hit a barrier, said Gainer. The injury wasn’t life-threatening, he said.

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said there was no sign of a terrorism connection.

The incident started about a block from the White House as the woman tried to drive through security barriers and police gave chase, Dine said.

“We were walking up to the Capitol,” said one tourist, Andrew Larison, 53, of Van Etten, New York, who was visiting with his wife, daughter and grandchildren. “I heard three shots -- at least three. Then we saw a black car and several police chasing the black car.”

Larison said police “told us to get out of the way, get off the street.”

The incident interrupted efforts to resolve the dispute over stopgap spending legislation that earlier this week resulted in the first partial government shutdown in 17 years. Both chambers went into recess and Capitol police told staffers to “shelter in place.” The House reconvened later in the day.

Blumenthal ‘Shaken’

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said he was on the Senate floor when he heard reports of gunfire. He said he was “shaken” by the news and immediately called his wife.

“Hopefully, it was an isolated incident,” said Blumenthal, a leading voice on gun control who represents Newtown, the site of the mass shootings of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in December.

Democratic Representative Juan Vargas of California was walking to the Capitol when he heard the sound of pops. A Capitol Police officer rushed at him, telling him to take off his pin identifying him as a congressman because he might be a target.

Senator Jeff Flake said he was going to walk out of the Capitol to his office across the street.

“I got to the door and they wouldn’t let me out of the door,” Flake, an Arizona Republican, said on Bloomberg Television.

FBI agents were responding, according to Jacqueline Maguire, a spokesman for the FBI field office in Washington. She said she had no further information at this time.

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