We knew things were getting heated in Washington, D.C., but things just got a lot more intense. This afternoon there was a lockdown in the Capitol after shots were fired outside, just blocks away from the Senate building. Both chambers of Congress were closed, as were nearby office buildings and Pennsylvania Avenue. The altercation is over and police lifted the lockdown after nearly an hour.
According to reports, at about 2:30 p.m. a driver believed to be female in a dark-colored sedan crashed into a security barrier just south of the White House. It appears she was trying to ram through the gates. She was not successful. The police pursued the driver up Pennsylvania Avenue toward Capitol Hill, where some shots were exchanged on the street at Maryland Ave. N.E. and 2nd Street (two blocks away from the U.S. Capitol). Several members of the Senate reported hearing the shots from inside the building.
Police are calling this an "isolated incident" and not an act of terrorism. They confirmed one officer was injured in the car crash. A Senate Sergeant at Arms told ABC News, "It does not appear any law enforcement officers were shot." They confirm they have a suspect in custody, but will not say what condition that suspect is in.
There are reports that the driver was shot dead by the Secret Service; however, neither the death nor the means are confirmed. The most disturbing rumor of all is that there may have been a little girl around 1 year old and a man (who was injured and sent to the hospital) in the car with the driver. Again, that's UNCONFIRMED.
Meanwhile, Congress had actually been making some progress toward lifting the government shutdown. At the time of the incident, the House had just approved legislation that would pay National Guard and Reserve members.
It's terrible that this would happen at all, let alone when tensions are so high in the nation's Capitol. Our thoughts are with everyone in the Washington, D.C., area, especially those working near Capitol Hill. I can't imagine how terrifying this afternoon was.
UPDATE: The woman driving the black Infiniti sedan that crashed into a barrier outside the White House was shot to death following pursuit by law enforcement. There was a small child found inside her car. There is no confirmation yet as to whether or not the woman was armed.
Image via ABC News