WASHINGTON (UPI) — A man was shot at the U.S. Capitol complex’s visitor center Monday afternoon after he pulled a gun and aimed it at a police officer while going through a security checkpoint, officials said.
According to investigators, the suspect pulled a handgun as he went through the center’s checkpoint at about 2:40 p.m. EDT Monday. The visitor center is located underground beneath and to the east of the Capitol.
Right after pulling the weapon, authorities said, the accused shooter aimed at a Capitol Police officer. He was immediately shot by another officer.
News media initially reported that a police officer had been shot in the incident, but authorities said later that no officer had been wounded.
The only other person hurt, other than the suspect, was a woman who was hit by flying debris. Her injuries are reportedly minor.
The suspected gunman, identified as Larry Dawson, was taken to a nearby hospital while in police custody. USA Today reported that Dawson was also involved in a disturbance at the U.S. Capitol last year, and that police consider him emotionally disturbed.
The extent of Dawson’s injuries were not immediately revealed but officials said he underwent surgery.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa described the shooting as “the act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol before.”
The Capitol lockdown was eventually lifted, but the visitor center remained closed. Washington, D.C., police said the general public was never in danger.
“It was scary,” visitor Diane Bilo said. “Police said, ‘Run, run as fast as you can.'”
After the shooting, Capitol workers were told by police to shelter in place due to a potential security threat and staffers received an email from officials that stated that authorities were locking down the entire complex.
“The Capitol has been locked down due to reports of shots being fired at the Capitol Visitors Center. No other information is available at this time,” supervisors of the House Daily Press Gallery said in a statement.
Heavy security is a constant presence at the Capitol’s complex, as several shootings have occurred there in the last 20 years.
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