Gunshots were fired near the US Capitol shortly after 2 PM, prompting police to lock down Capitol Hill and order members of Congress and staffers to shelter in place. Multiple shots were fired, and there are reports of injuries, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer told the Associated Press.
The House and Senate went into recess as reports of the gunshots reached the floor. The lockdown conditions were lifted about half an hour later. The House has resumed its session for the day, while the Senate is remaining adjourned.
Pedestrians standing outside the Capitol were scurried into nearby buildings, including the Supreme Court, as Capitol Police started clearing the area. There are reports of one officer injured during the incident, but authorities have not said how the officer was hurt.
The shooting outside the Capitol comes a little more than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at Washington Navy Yard, killing 12.
UPDATE: The shooting near the Capitol ended at Second St. and Maryland Ave, NE, after a chase that began after a vehicle struck a barrier near the White House complex, Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said at a news conference. The car struck a police vehicle near the Capitol and then crashed into a raised gate. The suspect, who is female, and officers exchanged gunfire. It is not clear how many shots were fired by the suspect and how many were by police. A child was found in the suspect’s car, Dine added.
Dine said the chase and gunfire were an “isolated incident,” and is not related to terrorism. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the shooting scene. The collision near the White House that set off the chase is still under investigation.
A Capitol Police officer and the suspect have been taken to a nearby hospital. Washington Hospital Center says it has received the officer and a female patient from the scene. The officer’s injuries are not from a gunshot, Dine said.
UPDATE, 6:38 PM: DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed at a news conference this evening that the suspect in the chase was pronounced dead a short time after the gunfire erupted on Capitol Hill. The shots were fired by the Secret Service and Capitol Police, and Lanier would not say if the suspect, who has been identified as 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Stamford, Conn., was armed herself.
Officers opened fire twice during the pursuit, which began when the suspect’s black Infiniti struck a White House barricade, though not until the chase reached the Hill. The first shots were fired at Garfield Circle, NW, and again at Maryland Ave. and Second St., SE, at which point the Infiniti crashed into a road barrier, Lanier said.
Authorities searching the suspect’s car found a one-year-old child inside, who has been taken into protective custody. What set off the tense minutes on both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. is still unknown, but Lanier said it appears intentional. “I’m pretty confident this was not an accident,” she said. She also repeated Dine’s statement that it does not appear to be related to terrorism.