Police are reporting that a lone gunman opened fire on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The incident occurred in the Capitol Visitor Center between the House and Senate. The suspect in the shooting was shot by a responding U.S. Capitol Police officer. Police are reporting that an unidentified female bystander was also hit by gunfire. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
During the incident, the grounds of the Capitol were shut down and people were advised to shelter in place, lock doors or go to an assigned safe area. Close to the same time an unidentified male attempted to jump the White House fence during the National Easter Egg Roll. There were an estimated 35,000 visitors in the area. The White House was briefly placed on lockdown as the two separate incidents unfolded. In addition Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding areas were cleared of traffic.
Law enforcement in the Capitol area have been on a heightened state of alert since the recent incidents of terrorist attacks. Double bombings in Brussels killed 35 people and injured more than 300. On Sunday, a bomb ripped through a children’s playground in Pakistan killing at least 34 people, mostly women and children.
The events that occurred today in Washington, D.C., are not being attributed to any acts of terror. Police are trying to determine how the gunman at the Capitol Visitor Center was able to bypass metal detectors and enter with his weapon. This has been an especially busy weekend for with many tourists also in the area to see the annual Cherry Blossoms bloom on the grounds of the Capitol.
At 3:19 p.m. the DC Police Department tweeted:
“There has been an isolated incident at the US Capitol. There is no active threat to the public.”
The events are still unfolding as police continue the investigation. There is no indication that the president or participants in the national Easter Egg Roll were in any danger.