Capitol lockdown update: Woman killed, 2 officers wounded, child survives (video)

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A woman with a 1-year-old girl led Secret Service and police on a harrowing car chase from the White House past the Capitol Thursday, attempting to penetrate the security barriers at both national landmarks before she was shot to death, police said. The child survived.

Highlights

 

Updated 3:15 p.m.: Two officers wounded, suspect pronounced dead but child is safe

Cathy Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed in a press conference Thursday afternoon that two officers — one from the Capitol police and one from the Secret Service — were wounded in Thursday's lengthy car chase involving multiple vehicles.

"As of right now, we do know there were shots fired in two separate locations," said Lanier.

Lanier also confirmed that the female suspect driving the vehicle was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead; a child who was in the car is safe. 

"We don't know which officers fired or how many," she said. 

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said he personally spoke with his wounded officer, and "he is doing fine."

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Updated 2:28 p.m.: Woman was killed by police, Congressman says

A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her, witnesses and officials said.

Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol 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.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, 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.

The pursuit began when a car with Connecticut plates sped onto the driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered barricades. When she couldn't get through a second barrier, she spun the car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the hood of the car as she sped away, said B.J. Campbell, a visiting tourist from Portland, Ore.

A fleet of police and Secret Service cars chased the Infiniti toward Capitol Hill.

"The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb," said Matthew Coursen, who was on his way to a legislative office building when the Infiniti sped by him. "The car got boxed in and that's when I saw an officer of some kind draw his weapon and fire shots into the car."

Coursen watched the shooting from his cab window.

"I thought to myself, 'The car is getting blocked in. The car is going to surrender,'" he said. "Now the cop has his weapon out. The car kept trying to get away. Then he fired shots."

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said a child was taken from the car to a hospital but said he knew of no harm to the youngster. Tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah said the child appeared to be about 2 to 3 years old.

A police officer was injured in the traffic accident but Gainer said the injuries were not life threatening.

"We heard three, four, five pops," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who was walking from the Capitol to an office building across the street. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

"There were multiple shots fired and the air was filled with gunpowder," said Berin Szoka, whose office at a technology think tank overlooks the shooting scene.

The shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.

Before the disruption, lawmakers had been trying to find common ground to end a government shutdown. The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

U.S. Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.

— Bradley Klapper and Laurie Kellman, Associated Press.

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Updated 1:47 p.m. Video of the vehicle chase near the White House

Video obtained by the Arabic-language satellite TV channel Alhurra TV and shown on Fox News shows the police firing shots at the vehicle apparently trying to run a security barricade at the White House.

KPCC staff

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Updated 1 p.m. Capitol locked down; reports of shots fired

Members of Congress have started to respond to the shots fired on Capitol Hill.

The shots were fired right outside Sen. Barbara Boxer's office. Boxer was shaken.

"We were just sitting down starting to talk, and we heard this incredibly loud noise outside the window," Boxer told KPCC. "Just in rapid succession — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. ... And then we knew something terrible had happened.

Boxer and her staff went into a stairwell and got those working upstairs to come down and stand in the stairwell, then went into their conference room with no windows, where they watched developments on TV during the lockdown.

"I can't tell you how unnerving it is to be seriously a few feet away from a gun battle," Boxer said. "It just... it's so loud. I don't think we'll ever forget it."

"I was prepared to talk about the shutdown when we were literally shut down," Adam Schiff told KPCC. "We were told to lock the doors and harbor in place."

Capitol Hill was already an unhappy place — staff are tired, as they didn't get home until late the previous night in the midst of government shutdown negotiations.

KPCC staff

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Updated 12:46 p.m.: Capitol press conference 

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said in a press conference that the incident that led to a lockdown at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday began when a person, believed to be female, began driving erratically and tried to ram a security barricade at the White House. 

"This appears to be an isolated incident with one vehicle involved," Dine said. "One of our officers was struck in a scout car."

The suspect reportedly led police on a chase all the way to the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol building, crashing into and injuring the officer. The officer was said to be breathing, but there was no more information about the officer's condition.

Police told reporters they had no information about shots fired at the Capitol. The suspect was shot, but police would not say what the person's condition was.

They said there may have been a child in the suspect's car.

— KPCC staff

Updated 12:15 p.m.: A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown.

The shooting unfolded after police chased a black car up Constitution Avenue toward theCapitol, said tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah, who walked toward the scene as the car stopped.

"Then I heard the gunfire" and hit the ground, he said.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told reporters he was walking from the Capitol to the Senate Russell Office Building across the street when he noticed several police officers driving fast up Constitution Avenue on motorcycles.

"Within seconds of that," Casey said, "we heard three, four, five pops," which he assumed were gunshots. He said police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection.

In about two minutes, he said, the officers moved everyone into the Capitol.

FBI agents rushed to the scene and Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said: "There are reports of injuries."

— Associated Press

Updated 12:07 p.m.: A lockdown of the U.S. Capitol and the Hart building has been lifted after reports of shots fired.

Updated 11:54 a.m.: A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday while putting the entire complex on lockdown.

"There are reports of injuries," said Terrance Gainer, the Senate's Sergeant at Arms.

FBI agents were also headed to the scene.

The reports comes two weeks after a deadly shooting at the nearby Navy Yard and amid a government shutdown.

As a warning was sounded, the House abruptly went into recess and lawmakers left the chamber floor. The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

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

The White House was quickly locked down after the incident at Capitol Hill and the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the compound was closed to pedestrians. Secret Service said the procedures were precautionary.

— Bradley Klapper and Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

11:47 a.m.: Police say they have locked down the U.S. Capitol and have asked people to stay away from doors and windows amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building, KPCC's Kitty Felde reports.

Television coverage shows heavy police activity in the area, but specific information about suspects and any possible injuries was still hard to come by.

Felde was reporting from the Capitol building, where she heard an alert over the speaker system warning people to stay inside.

People who tried to go outside to see what was going on were told to go back inside, Felde told KPCC's Larry Mantle.

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AP writers Adam Goldman, Mark Sherman, Philip Elliott, Jesse Holland, David Espo, Alan Fram, Eric Tucker, Brett Zongker and Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

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