Shots Fired at Rayburn House Office Building (Er, Just Construction Noises)

Update: Nothing to see here. Just a congressman unable to differentiate the sound of construction machinery from gunfire. Details below.

OTB roving correspondent Richard Gardner emails he’s seeing television reports about shots being fired at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill.

Nothing yet online except this blurb at YahooNews: “BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Capitol locked down after reports of gunfire in a House office building – AP.”

CNN has a similar banner:

Shots Fired at Rayburn House Office Building

Update: AP is starting to get reporting out.

Police sealed off the Capitol on Friday after receiving reports of gunfire in a House office building across the street. Capitol police are investigating “the sound of gunfire in the garage level of the Rayburn House Office BHuilding,” said an announcement on the internal Capitol voice alarm system.

The Senate was in session at the time, but the House was not.

Update: Richard notes in the comments, “This is being turned into 24/7 coverage, lots of words, few facts.” Rick Calvert is liveblogging the television accounts.

Update:
Rep. Jack Kingston’s interns are blogging from the inside. It appears that there is no immediate danger.

Update:
Michael Demmons wonders, “Did Cynthia McKinney finally crack?” Heh.

Update: Apparently, a Kingston staffer got the vapors and was taken to the hospital.

The Capitol Police have scheduled a press conference for 1:30 Eastern. One suspects it will be carried live by everybody.

Update: It turns out the “gunshots” were construction tools.

A phone call reporting gunfire — apparently a false alarm — led police to briefly shut down the Capitol Friday and search the largest House office building floor by floor as staff members and a few lawmakers were kept inside. Officers with rifles stood by outside, and ambulances arrived. But in the end police said there were no arrests, injuries or confirmation of any gunfire in the garage of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The report originated with Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., his press secretary said. Saxton heard what he thought were gunshots and had a member of his staff call Capitol Police, said spokesman Greg Keeley.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said police were investigating a “plausible explanation” that the day’s events resulted from noise made by construction workers in the Rayburn garage. “In doing their routine duties, they made some sort of a noise that sounded like shots fired. So it was a valid call,” she said.

On high alert, police lined the street between the Capitol and the Rayburn building, rifles prominently displayed, and four ambulances, two firetrucks and other emergency vehicles were on the scene. Police methodically searched the sprawling building, where congressional staff members had locked themselves into their offices as a precaution. “Right now we want to err on the side of caution,” Schneider said before the all-clear, which came at mid-afternoon, some four hours after the first report. “Lives could be at risk. If we have a gunman in the building we certainly want to find him. It’s premature to assume that it may not be a gunman.”

Saxon is going to go down in the Annuals of Congressional Courage along with Senator Mark Dayton, who closed his office the month before the 2004 elections based on a non-existent terrorism scare.

Update: See Jim Saxon Scared of Tools for further updates.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. completely bogus. He says capitol police are now advising people in the building to lock their doors and not to open them until police knock on the door and give them a codeword notifying them it is ok to exit. Outside The Beltway | OTB linked withShots Fired at Rayburn House Office Building… Wizbang linked with Breaking News: Shot’s Fired In Capitol Office Building…

  2. Richard Gardner says:

    I’ve been watching news being made up on TV for the past 15 minutes. The few facts are shots being fired (heard?) at the Raburn Office Building in an underground garage, a police lock down, notification by Blackberry, and that there is a shooting range (MSNBC) in said garage. This is being turned into 24/7 coverage, lots of words, few facts.

  3. GOP Bloggers says:

    Lockdown on Capitol Hill After Reports of Gunfire…

    Reuters:The U.S. Capitol was briefly locked down on Friday as police investigated the sound of gunfire in the garage of a House of Representatives office building, officials said. The sounds were heard in the garage level of the Rayburn building,……

  4. Gay Orbit says:

    Did Cynthia McKinney Finally Crack?…

    Gunfire on Capitol Hill

    Capitol Police said Friday they were investigating the sound of what might have been gunshots fired in the garage of the Rayburn Office Building, where some members of the House have their offices.

    “There may be a gun,…

  5. Mark Jaquith says:

    Guess who has an office there.

    William Jefferson (D-La.)

    Guess who else has an office there.

    Dennis Hastert (R-Il.)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this had something to do with the recent goings on.

  6. This looks to be an isolated incident right now. There are reports of two women running from the gym telling police a gunman is hiding in the gym. Capitol Police are now airing a description of a suspect on the PA. White male 5/10 175 lbs.

  7. Police investigating reports of gunfire in House building…

    Police investigated reports of gunfire in a House office building on Friday and briefly sealed off t…

  8. The Sandbox says:

    Shots Fired At Capitol…

    Via CNN:WASHINGTON (CNN) — Police were searching the Rayburn building in the Capitol complex Friday after reports of gunfire in a garage in the building. At 10:30 this morning, we received a report of shots fired inside the Rayburn garage,…

  9. Craig Stuntz says:

    Headline at Fark:

    Police searching Capitol Hill for possible gunman. They’ve only found a building full of theives so far.

  10. Bhoe says:

    Where is Cynthia McKinney?

  11. […] Also blogging: Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Blue Crab Boulevard, Outside the Beltway   [link] […]

  12. […] James Joyner had this to say at Outside The Beltway: Saxon is going to go down in the Annuals of Congressional Courage along with Senator Mark Dayton, who closed his office the month before the elections based on a non-existent terrorism scare. […]

  13. D.C. Lockdown: Possible Gunfire…

    Update: Outside the Beltway: Shots Fired at Rayburn House Office Building (Just Construction Noises) Hahaha!…

  14. broodlinger says:

    Anybody else troubled that the whole legislative branch can be put on lockdown with a single phone call?

    Not to mention that the gunman was never found, which means the two woman witnesses were lying and the whole event was staged.