Authorities took a gunman into custody Monday after he aimed a weapon at officers during a routine screening at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., prompting an officer to shoot him. He was subsequently treated by medical personnel and taken to a hospital.
Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said in a press conference on Monday afternoon that the shooter, an adult male who is believed to have been known to Capitol Police previously, was undergoing surgery and that his condition was unknown.
An uninvolved bystander also suffered minor injuries on the scene. Early reports said a U.S. Capitol Police officer was injured in the shooting, but those later turned out to be false. Officials have not yet determined how many officers fired their weapon, a question that Verderosa says is currently under investigation.
While some reports said the suspect was 66-year-old Larry Dawson, the man who was arrested in October after yelling that he was a “Prophet of God” in the House of Representatives, Verderosa would not confirm the shooter’s identity. A D.C. court issued a “stay away order” to Dawson, according to the Associated Press.
While noting that the available information was still very preliminary, Verderosa said his department believes that “this is the act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before and there is no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act.”
The shooting prompted lockdowns at the White House and Congress. An email sent to Capitol workers called for people to shelter in place after the shots were reported. The Senate alert email said to “close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows” and that no one would be permitted to enter or exit Capitol buildings until further notice. The White House was locked down amid the annual Easter Egg Roll festivities, to which about 35,000 people were invited. Both lockdowns were lifted by 3:40 pm.
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