The female suspect tried to breach the White House and was shot dead after a car chase that ended on Capitol Hill.
A car chase from the White House to the Capitol ended in a burst of gun shots Thursday afternoon, rattling nerves in Congress where tensions were already running high in the third day of a government shutdown.
The female driver was shot and killed by Capitol Police, NBC News’ Pete Williams reports. One officer was hit by a car and air lifted from the scene.
A child was found in the car and has been taken to safety, according to MSNBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.
The incident started down Pennsylvania Avenue, when the woman tried to ram her car through a White House gate, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News.
Williams reported that the driver got out of her car near the Capitol where she was shot by Capitol Police. Witnesses heard between three and 15 shots and saw tourists fleeing.
Police and medical responders flooded the area near the Botanical Gardens. A helicopter landed nearby and the officer was air lifted away.
Inside the Capitol, police raced to lock the door in the Speaker’s Lobby, where lawmakers gather to vote, and rushed members in from the balcony, where many were outside smoking and socializing when shot broke out.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, who was on the balcony talking to his colleagues, described a “burst” of gunfire from the House side of the Capitol, towards the House office buildings.
“It was like the first volley in a 21-gun salute,” Rep. Matthew Cartwright said, saying it sounded like a “large caliber” weapon. He described hearing about 7 or 8 shots.
From the Senate press gallery, the emergency radio feed crackled with warnings to stay inside. A feed on TV screens warned “SHELTER IN PLACE – GUNSHOTS” and informed all inside to avoid windows and locate emergency supplies.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said police first instructed him and his colleagues to take cover behind a car before they ran back indoors.
“The cops were rushing in doing their job and we were all running away.” “Pretty gutsy work,” he said of the Capitol Police.
“I don’t know if they were shots, they just sounded like pops,” Brown said.
Pennsylvania Avenue was shut down, but the White House was never put on lockdown. Barack Obama was briefed on the events.
Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) October 3, 2013
Chopper lands west front Capitol pic.twitter.com/h4d6LAofjN— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) October 3, 2013
This is a breaking news entry, more to come…