U.S. Capitol Building Lockdown; Lifted

3:34 PM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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(Photo: Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty Images)

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY

Gunshots fired near Capitol Hill Thursday prompted authorities to place the the U.S. Capitol on lockdown for less than an hour as officers swarmed the building and the surrounding area.

"There are reports of injuries," said Terrance Gainer, the Senate's Sergeant at Arms. CNN quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying there has been "one injury."

Members of Congress and staff members were told by Capitol police to "immediately shelter in place." Less than an hour later, a message on a TV screen in the Senate press gallery flashed an "all clear" message.

The incident involved a car chase that began near the White House and ended near the Capitol, 16 blocks away, CNN and NBC reported.

Security was heightened at the White House as a precaution.

The shooting occurred at Maryland Avenue Northeast and Second street, about two blocks from the capitol. The Washington Post quotes the sergeant-at-arms as saying that asuspect has been taken into custody.

In a notice distributed by email, the U.S. Capitol Police advised everyone to "close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows.The notice said gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill.

"Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was on the balcony off of the speaker's lobby when the gunshots erupted, tells reporters that they sounded like "fireworks," he told reporters.

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), who was also on the balcony, said he heard "five or six" gunshots.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!" Posey told POLITICO. "Then sirens went off, cops started going everywhere yelling 'get inside, get inside!'"

People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.

U.S. Capitol police said they had received reports of gunshots and one police officer has been injured.

The U.S. Capitol; issued this statement:

SHELTER IN PLACE. Gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill requiring staff in all Senate Office Buildings to immediately shelter in place. Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows. Take annunciators, emergency supply kits and escape hoods; and move to your office's assigned shelter in place location or the innermost part of the office away from external doors or windows. If you are not near your office, go to the office nearest to you and shelter with that office and then check in with your OEC. No one will be permitted to enter or exit the building until directed by USCP. Staff is advised to monitor the situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

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