Ed O’Keefe sent this report on what happened at the Capitol after shots were reported on Thursday afternoon:
It was about 2:19 p.m., just as the House was wrapping up a series of votes on short-term spending bills.
That’s when Capitol Police radios began squawking and officers were seen rushing out of the Capitol. At the basement-level House Carry-Out, three officers were seen heading toward stairs to the first floor.
Up on the first floor, some of those officers ran outside while others helped guard a door that had been locked, sealing people inside and keeping others out. Within moments another rush of officers arrived in the first-floor corridor as police radios continued broadcasting information.
The officers began banging on doors, telling staffers for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to shelter in place and lock their doors. When reporters standing in the hallway asked what they should do, an officer froze for just a moment. “Shelter in place. Just get to your office,” the officer said.
Around the corner near the crypt of the Capitol below the Rotunda, officers dressed in business suits were seen sprinting towards the exits carrying suitcase-sized bags. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) stood confused at the base of a winding staircase leading up to the Rotunda. Up in the rotunda, officers were seen closing large wooden doors facing East.
The situation seemed more under control on the Senate side, where Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) were seen walking around with staffers. Schumer, as head of the Senate Rules Committee, confirmed that shots had been fired near the Capitol but said he didn’t know anything else. Klobuchar said she had been told that shots were fired near the Hart Senate Office Building and that she had already heard from her concerned daughter.
The Senate remained in session for at least 15 minutes after the first reports of trouble, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) presiding. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was speaking about the situation in Syria at the first reports came in, according to Senate transcripts. He yielded to Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), who when told about what was happening asked that the Senate adjourn.
From windows in the storied Ohio Clock Corridor outside the Senate Chamber, two sharpshooters could be seen on the West Front of the Capitol, near the spot where presidential inaugurations are held. One of the sharpshooters was on bended knee with his weapon aimed toward the Mall.
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine briefs the media after shots fired near the Capitol. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)