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Reports Of Shots Fired At U.S. Capitol

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

The U.S. Capitol is on lockdown after reports of shots fired near the Hart Senate Office Building:

WASHINGTON – October 3, 2013 (WPVI) – Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building.

People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.

U.S. Capitol police said they had received reports of gunshots and one police officer has been injured.

Various reporters are sending in reports via Twitter but, as with other situations like this, it’s always important to remember that initial reports are often incorrect.

More from Politico:

The U.S. Capitol and adjacent buildings were locked down Thursday afternoon, after multiple gun shots were fired on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Police have advised House and Senate employees to “shelter in place” and move away from and lock doors and windows. The order was lifted around 3 p.m.

Two eyewitness said U.S. Capitol Police fired multiple shots at a black sedan on Constitution Avenue near the Hart Senate Office Building. Two people — including a child — were removed from the vehicle. One adult from the vehicle appeared to be hit by gunfire, according to a eyewitness on the scene. A helicopter landed on Capitol grounds, and one person was taken away.

Secret Service at the White House say the car slammed into the south side of the White House gate and then fled to Capitol.

When shots were fired, Capitol Police cleared the plaza on the East Front of the Capitol, and quickly moved dozens of members of Congress, aides, reporters and tourists into rooms.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) was on the balcony off of the speaker’s lobby when he heard what he said sounded like “fireworks,” he told reporters. Guards immediately told members on the balcony to step inside.

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!'”

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) stayed in the U.S. Senate chamber.

While being interviewed by a reporter, McCaskill was pulled into the chamber by a Capitol Police officer.

“Senator, we’re locking down the Capitol” the officer yelled.

Reports on Twitter are saying that the driver of the sedan was a female and that she was either injured sufficiently to be taken away via ambulance, or that she may in fact be dead. Obviously, it’s far too early to determine what this may be all about. Although it’s worth noting that, more often than not, people who tend to do things like attack the White House gates tend not to be in full possession of their mental faculties.

Update: According to media reports, all of the shots fired today were fired by police and it’s not entirely clear that the woman driving the car, or anyone with her, had any kind of a weapon. There was also apparently a small child in the car who was, thankfully unharmed during this whole bizarre event. Whether she’s alive or dead is still not officially confirmed at this point, but there are multiple reports of a woman being taken from the scene on a gurney who needed assistance to breathe so she likely took a lot of gunfire after getting out of the car.

This being Washington, there’s already video of the incident out. This first one comes from the Arabic network Al-Hurra:

Given the plethora of cameras in this part of Washington, it is likely that there is video of the entire pursuit from the White House to the Capitol that will eventually be released.

Update #2 The woman who was shot, who is indeed dead, has been identified:

The incident started when the driver, 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Stamford, Connecticut, tried to ram her car through a White House gate, authorities said. Secret Service agents fired shots — and the pursuit began down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Carey, a dental hygienist, is the mother of a one-year-old child. A one-year-old was taken from her car at the scene and is now in protective custody.
The FBI searched a building believed to be Carey’s condo building in Stamford, NBC News reports.

Still unclear is why this all happened, why Carey apparently tried to breach a White House security gate, and why she evaded police.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    …shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue

    Clearly a 2nd Amendment and Constitution nut job…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  2. KM says:

    She had a child with her! A child! What kind of nutcase brings their kids along?!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. PJ says:

    @KM:

    She had a child with her! A child! What kind of nutcase brings their kids along?!!

    She wanted to teach her kid about her version of democracy? Considering that she probably will be away from said child for a while there really aren’t any opportunities for home schooling…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. anjin-san says:

    Fox already spinning, saying Obama has not replaced Napolitano at Homeland Security, and that that is somehow linkage between that, this event and the Navy Yard shooting.

    Really, WTF?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. KM says:

    @PJ:she probably will be away from said child for a while

    She’s dead, darling. I’d say that’s away for good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. PJ says:

    @KM:

    She’s dead, darling. I’d say that’s away for good.

    And the child got a life long lesson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM:

    She’s dead, darling. I’d say that’s away for good.

    If she’s the child’s mother? That’s not good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. KM says:

    @PJ:

    And the child got a life long lesson.

    And since it looks like she just tried to ram the WH gates and started a car chase in the Capital, I’m wondering just what you think that lesson was for the young child?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. PJ says:

    @KM:

    And since it looks like she just tried to ram the WH gates and started a car chase in the Capital, I’m wondering just what you think that lesson was for the young child?

    Could be many things.
    Maybe that the White House tours should still be open despite the shutdown?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @KM:

    And since it looks like she just tried to ram the WH gates and started a car chase in the Capital, I’m wondering just what you think that lesson was for the young child?

    Perhaps the lesson is: “Just about anyone can get a gun, maybe that’s not a good idea?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  11. @KM:

    “ram the WH gates” appears to actually mean “hit a police barricade a block away from the White House”. This could end up just being someone who made a wrong turn, hit the barricade by accident, and then paniced.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  12. Steve V says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That’s what I was considering. This could be a big tragic mistake and this kid now has no mother.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Perhaps ram is a strong word. Still, to hit a barrier in front of the WH, continue going at a rapid pace with the police giving chase, hit a police car several blocks away? That’s doesn’t sound like an accident – that sounds like fleeing the scene at best.

    There is video now, apparently, so hopefully we’ll get a better picture of what’s going on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. @KM:

    I’m not saying fleeing an accident makes you a good person, but it’s not exactly unheard of for a driver to panic after an accident and try to flee. My point is that everyone seems to be trying to jam this into a political narrative, when it could just be a run of the mill hit and run that ended tragically because it happened to occur near the White House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Just Me says:

    I think it does sound like the ramming may have been an accident and the woman fled the scene (either in a panic or perhaps she was under the influence of a drug or alcohol and fled).

    The gunfire appears to have been entirely from law enforcement-makes me wonder if they didn’t go overboard with the shooting (eg was shooting necessary or would pursuit have been suitable).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Not trying be political, merely pointing out the crazy. Perhaps because I personally know someone who tried a suicide-by-cop in this manner (with their child in the car as well), my first thought was not accident but rather very deliberate. I may be letting anecdotal evidence taint my views, but mothers in car accidents tend to stop and check to see if the child is OK, not jam it in gear and run for it. This feels… off. Mental issues, perhaps?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. PJ says:

    Look at this video. If you’re surrounded by police officers with drawn guns you don’t try to get away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. wr says:

    @PJ: You’re on fire today.

    I feel a little guilty because of the subject matter, but that’s the second post of yours in this threat that made me laugh…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “I’m not saying fleeing an accident makes you a good person, but it’s not exactly unheard of for a driver to panic after an accident and try to flee.”

    If you look at the video, you’ll see that after she hit the barricade she was surrounded by police officers on foot, who had to scatter out of her way when she backed up into a police car, then drove off forward. If this is her panicking, it’s one of the most remarkable panic attacks of all time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Ron Beasley says:

    (snark)It’s definitely time to slash Federal spending on mental health. (/snark)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    @PJ: I really don’t understand why they didn’t at least shoot out the tires.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m surprised there are so few details out there. I’d expect a quicker response from the DC police department to justify an officer-involved shooting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Davebo says:

    @Dave Schuler: Well, from the looks of the video they fired seven shots and didn’t seem to even hit the car. No broken windows, etc.

    Perhaps DCPD is embarrassed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Andy says:
  25. wr says:

    @Dave Schuler: “I’d expect a quicker response from the DC police department to justify an officer-involved shooting. ”

    Everyone seems to be moving slowly on this. Even Jenos and JKB haven’t figured out how to blame it on Obama yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  26. walt moffett says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Possibly because police officers are trained not disable cars by gun fire. If you miss a small moving target, the bullet has go some where else.

    FWIW, here’s a link to the Interior Department’s firearm policy manual.

    Could they have handled this without firearms? Possibly, but will leave the second guessing to those who enjoy it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: We really do live, rent-free, inside your tiny little head, don’t we?

    It’s not very comfortable, though. I thought it would be roomier, with the decided absence of brain tissue, but you replaced the gray matter with rocks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  28. anjin-san says:

    a history of mental health issues

    The GOP has a plan.

    A. Cut funding for mental health care

    B. Blame Obama

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  29. Rob in CT says:

    I heard this on the radio on my way to work today. It’s really sad. It sounds like suicide by cop by a very depressed lady… with her 1-yr old in the car. Awful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “We really do live, rent-free, inside your tiny little head, don’t we?”

    Nope. You live rent-free at OTB.

    And, no doubt, with Mommy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. grumpy realist says:

    What I find ironic is all the commentary second-guessing the cops and how “they should have treated the poor woman better.” After all, she had post-natal depression! And the poor Baybee in the car!

    The fact that this woman was acting well along the lines of what a suicide bomber using a car would have done seems to have escaped their tiny little minds. (And yes, there are examples of suicide bombers using young kids to get closer to their targets.) Somewhere out in Middle America someone acting like this? Yep, maybe be a little more cautious before releasing the weaponry. But right in front of the friggin’ White House? You have to be joking.

    I can feel sorry for this woman, but I have no argument with how the Secret Service men and police acted–none.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I totally agree. Its the kid in the car that’s cause all the concern, btw. If she’d been alone, she’d have just been another “crazy person in America causing public mayhem” again. But nooo, she had a child with her so it couldn’t possibly have been anything other then a tragic accident. Those bad, bad men.

    Bull.Shit.

    As stated above, I have personal experience with a mother who tried to kill herself and her passengers (one of whom was a very young child) by deliberately crashing with the clear intent we’d all die. Just because her biological offspring was in the car means bupkis. It’s the same false equivalency that says every parent must love their child, will protect and fight for them. It’s not always true, parents can and do kill their kids.

    The police showed restraint, damnit. I would have shot at her the second she hit a human being. She hit not one but two barriers in succession and tried to keep going. She was confronted with armed men and went on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. She wrecked cars, nearly killed pedestrians, and resulted in the FD having to rescue some from a car. She was an active danger to everyone around her. She wasn’t going to stop because the nice policeman told her to. “Shooting the tires” only works in movies and results in an out of control car that endangers everyone else. You start with Secret Service, they take you out, period.

    Sorry she was suffering and in need of help. She doesn’t not get to inflict suffering on others. The police did nothing wrong. People need to stop trying to excuse someone just because a toddler got dragged into this madness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. grumpy realist says:

    The one aspect I do more or less grudgingly admit is it’s VERY possible that she was someone who was lost in DC and panicked. Heck, my own trip to DC resulted in my driving around by guess and by gosh even though supposedly having directions to the hotel. Finally pulled over in a spot where I knew I wasn’t supposed to park, put flashers on, and tried to figure out where I was. Turns out I was right at the back of the White House. (Was re-oriented and sent on the right track by a nice tour bus driver. Thank you!)

    Do NOT drive around DC unless you have an up-to-date GPS with you in the car!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Matt Bernius says:

    The fact that this woman was acting well along the lines of what a suicide bomber using a car would have done seems to have escaped their tiny little minds.

    This needs to be repeated. The only reason it hasn’t been brought up more is the fact that its “not the sort of thing that happens here” a la 9/11.

    My understanding is that she hit at least one of the barricades at rather high speed. It is entirely possible that she accidentally hit the first one and panic’d.

    At the same time, there are countless examples of people using cars as weapons and taking down lots of people. Sadly there are even more examples of car bombs causing lots of damage even when they are stopped at the gates to facilities.

    Given the realities of the world today, I have little doubt that the officers in question were treating this as if it was a car bomb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “The one aspect I do more or less grudgingly admit is it’s VERY possible that she was someone who was lost in DC and panicked. ”

    If she was lost, she might have rolled down her window and asked one of the dozens of police officers surrounding her car for directions, instead of trying to run them over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. grumpy realist says:

    @wr: Yah, but considering this was someone who seems to have been mentally ill? Who knows what the voices in her head were telling her.

    There’s a crapload of editorials today from newspapers around the country saying how this indicates we need to revise our police gun shooting policies in cases like this. (“No! Don’t shoot! Never with a baby in the car! We had an innocent toddler who got to watch her poor, frightened, innocent, postpartum depressed mother being horribly massacred without Due Process! Who will think of the CHILDREN?!”) Idiots.

    Sometimes I agree with all the spleen thrown at the Left about being over-idealistic and clueless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Matt Bernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Sometimes I agree with all the spleen thrown at the Left about being over-idealistic and clueless.

    Seconded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0