WASHINGTON – Gunshots were fired near the U.S. Capitol after police chased a vehicle that had slammed into a security ballard on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.
Police surrounded the vehicle Thursday afternoon on Constitution Avenue near the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court. Gunfire was exchanged and the suspect was killed, according to law enforcement sources. Police said at least one officer was injured in the volley. He was brought out on a gurney and transported in a helicopter.
CNN reported that an intelligence source said there was a child in the car that led the chase.
“It sounded like fireworks like a big fireworks display,” said Rep Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who heard the shots from the balcony off the House chamber while talking to another congressman about the government shutdown. “But one had the feeling it could be gunshots.”
“We saw citizens fleeing this way and police going that way,” he said.
The shooting, which came just two weeks after a shooter killed a dozen people at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, led Capitol Police to order the U.S. Capitol locked down for about a half hour.
The House had just finishing voting for the day and lawmakers were clearing out. Lawmakers rushed back into the building and security hustled to secure the chambers.
Police also cleared people from Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, pushing tourists into Lafayette Park. The White House ordered people to remain inside.
People outside the Capitol could be seen running, as police cars with flashing red lights sped down Constitution Avenue. The House and Senate proceedings stopped, and Capitol police ran through the building directing staff to stay in their offices.
An email sent to staff by Capitol police about 2:30 p.m. advised: “Gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill requiring all occupants in all House Office Buildings to shelter in place.”