US Capitol suspect shot after drawing weapon

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US Capitol police stand guard in the middle of Independence Avenue as people evacuate the Capitol Building after a shooting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Capitol Hill in Washington March 28, 2016. (Reuters)

The man arrested in a shooting incident at the US Capitol on Monday had drawn a weapon at a security checkpoint in the building’s visitor center, where he was shot by an officer, police said.

“The suspect is currently undergoing surgery. His condition is unknown at this time. A weapon was recovered on the scene,” Capitol police chief Matthew Verderosa told reporters after the incident, which sparked a brief lockdown on Capitol Hill.

Verderosa said the suspect was known to police through previous contact.

However, some US media outlets reported the name of the suspect.

ABC News is reporting that the name of the shooting suspect is Larry Dawson. The Capitol Police have also confirmed this.

He also said there is “no reason to believe it was anything but a criminal act,” adding that the security screening process worked as it was intended.

Earlier, Capitol officials said a gunman was taken into custody after firing shots in the US Capitol complex on Monday, and visitors and staff were shut in their offices and told to “shelter in place.”

Initial reports said a police officer sustained minor injuries, but later reports raised doubts about who, if anyone, was shot.  However,  police later said a bystander suffered minor injuries and was hospitalized, and no officers were injured.

The event unfolded with Congress on recess and lawmakers back in their districts. The White House was briefly put on lockdown, but that was soon lifted. A notification sent to Senate offices said no further suspects appeared to be at large, and most Capitol Hill buildings were later re-opened for business.

The shooting occurred in the Visitors Center of the sprawling Capitol complex. Staffers, reporters and others were told to “shelter in place” while the incident was being investigated.

Visitors were being turned away from the Capitol as emergency vehicles flooded the street and the plaza on the building’s eastern side. Police, some carrying long guns, cordoned off the streets immediately around the building, which were thick with tourists visiting for spring holidays and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Cathryn Leff of Temicula, California, in town to lobby with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, said she was going through security at the main entrance to the Capitol Visitors Center when police told people to leave immediately.

Outside, on the plaza just to the east of the Capitol, other officers told those there to “get down behind this wall,” she said. “I heard what sounded like two shots off to my left.” After a while police told her and others to keep running. “I felt like I was in a movie. It didn’t feel real at all.”

Traffic was jammed in the vicinity, but despite the obvious emergency the scene was relatively calm. A work crew on the north side of the Supreme Court, across the street, was asked to stop work and move away from the building as a precaution.

Capitol Police did not immediately return calls seeking clarification about the incident.

From back home in their districts many lawmakers got in touch with staff to ensure all were safe, and posted thanks on Twitter as it appeared they were.

Earlier in the day, officials conducted an unrelated shelter-in-place drill at the Capitol.

Meanwhile, the US Secret Service said it temporarily closed the north and south fence lines of the White House complex as a “routine precautionary measure” after the incident. It also said a report that an individual tried to gain entry to the White House was incorrect. Earlier, CNN reported that an individual tried to gain entry into the White House.

Agencies 

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