Capitol Shooter Known to Police

Capitol Shooter Known to Police
A Secret Service Police Officer patrols the North Lawn of the White House in Washington on March 28, 2016, after reports of an active shooter at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said a man who drew his weapon on officers this afternoon is believed to be known to law enforcement, but terrorism is not suspected.


Congressional employees were being told to shelter in place this afternoon after a report of shots fired near the Capitol Visitors Center.

The White House was also briefly on lockdown, but because of a separate incident: a fence jumper who was apprehended.

Verderosa told reporters that at about 2:39 p.m. an adult male entered the north screening facility at the CVC. “During routine screening” the man pulled a weapon and pointed it at officers.

The chief couldn’t say how many officers opened fire on the man, but he was struck and was undergoing surgery at a local hospital. The suspect’s weapon was recovered on the scene, and his vehicle was “located on Capitol grounds.”

A female adult bystander “suffered minor injuries,” he said.

“This is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before,” Verderosa said. “There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act.”

“We believe that the suspect is known to us through previous contact.”

The chief wouldn’t confirm if the shooter was a man from Tennessee who disrupted the House last fall, but multiple news outlets reported that the man shot today is Larry Dawson.


Dawson, of Antioch, Tenn., was removed by police and charged with assaulting an officer after yelling he was a “prophet of God” during a session in the House chamber.

“It appears that the screening process works the way it’s supposed to,” Verderosa said.

The Capitol Visitors Center is located between the House and the Senate.

Lawmakers are out of town as Congress is on recess for spring break. Staffers remaining on the Hill underwent a drill this morning on how to respond to an active shooter.

An email went out to Senate offices staffers stating “gunshots have been reported in the CVC of the U.S. Capitol Building requiring staff and visitors in all buildings of the U.S. Capitol Complex to immediately shelter in place.”

“Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows,” the email directed. “Take annunciators, emergency supply kits, escape hoods and visitors, and move to your office’s assigned shelter in place location or the innermost part of the office away from external doors or windows.”

No one would be permitted to enter or exit the buildings until directed by Capitol Police, staff were told. “If you are outside of an office building, seek cover away from the area.”


The lockdown was lifted at about 3:45 p.m.

Afterward, Capitol Police sent Hill staff an email noting that “an increased presence of K9 teams and tactical units” will be seen around the area due to “a series of enhanced security measures.”

Tens of thousands of invited visitors were at the White House beginning this morning for the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn.

President Obama had nothing on his schedule between 10:30 a.m. remarks at the Egg Roll and an evening speech at the Toner Prize Ceremony.

Numerous world leaders will be in D.C. later week for the Nuclear Security Summit.

This story was updated at 5 p.m. EST

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