A gunman has been captured as gunfire rattled Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday, with a police officer also shot in the process.
At approximately 2:40 p.m, an unknown male with a gun entered the visitor center below the Capitol grounds.
According to multiple reports, the suspect began to draw his weapon when police fired at him. The Capitol’s sergeant-at-arms said the gunman has been caught and that a U.S. Capitol Police officer was “shot, but not seriously.”
A female bystander was also reportedly injured in the gunfire. The Capitol and adjacent office buildings were placed on lock down for about a half hour before an all-clear order was issued.
There was confusion as the day began with a scheduled lockdown drill.
“No one will be allowed to enter or exit any buildings,” police notified House offices. “You may move about within the buildings and underground between buildings. If you are outside, seek cover.”
Tourists were prompted to exit the Capitol area as soon as the lockdown began.
The Visitor Center was commissioned, in part, as a response to a 1998 shooting at the Capitol when Russell Eugene Weston Jr. (a paranoid schizophrenic) entered the building and shot and killed Capitol police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson.
All visitors to the capitol now enter via the underground center and its layers of security. Violence is not uncommon on Capitol Hill. Last April, a man killed himself outside the building with a single shot, causing the Capitol to go under lockdown.
In 2013, a 34-year-old woman attempted to drive through a White House security checkpoint, striking a Secret Service agent in the process, and leading police on a chase to the Capitol, where she was fatally shot.
Her young daughter was discovered unharmed in the back seat of the vehicle after it had been stopped.
Three decades earlier, in 1971, the Weather Underground exploded a bomb in a Senate bathroom—no one was injured. And in 1954, four Puerto Rican nationalists fired 30 rounds from a balcony over looking the House chambers, injuring five congressman—all of whom recovered.
In 1835, President Andrew Jackson survived an assassination attempt after leaving a funeral at the Capitol. The gunman’s weapon misfired, sparing the president who then confronted the perpetrator, clubbing him with a walking cane.