Chase from White House to Capitol ends in gunfire

11:37 AM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON - Witnesses and officials say a woman driving a car with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade, led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her. The child was taken from the car to a hospital. Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrence Gainer says he knows of no harm to the child.

Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol today as lawmakers inside debated how to end a government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex temporarily, and both houses of Congress went into recess.

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, citing a Homeland Security Department briefing, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: "I don't think she was. There was no return fire."

Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.

A police officer was injured when the car crashed outside the Capitol, but the injuries weren't life-threatening. Police say no officers were wounded by gunfire.

The entire Capitol complex was locked down for about an hour. Both houses of Congress went into recess.

Witnesses say at least 20 police cars were involved in chasing the Lexus toward Capitol Hill. One tourist says he walked toward the scene, curious about what was going on -- but the he "heard the gunfire" and hit the ground.

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, six blocks away.

Before the shooting, Dine says a vehicle ran into barriers at a White House security checkpoint at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15 Street NW, causing officers from the Secret Service to open fire on the driver. The car didn't breach the barrier near White House, but fled up Pennsylvania Ave., and eventually came to a stop after crashing into a barrier at 2nd and Constitution.

Security was heightened at the White House as a precaution. President Obama was also briefed.

Larry Murr, a former Louisville resident living in Jacksonville, Fla., was visiting the Capitol building when he heard the gunfire, the (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported..

"We were standing there, looking at the building, and all of a sudden we heard a pop-pop-pop-pop," he said, saying he thought he heard four to five shots fired in rapid succession.

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.

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!'"

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