POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 2:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 2:11pm
WASHINGTON D.C. — The United States Capitol was placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon after shots were fired in the vicinity of the chamber. At least one Capitol Police officer was injured, officials said.
An NBC satellite truck operator saw several police cars with lights flashing near the gardens below the Capitol when he suddenly heard rapid-fire shots. Several police cats could then be seen chasing a black car.
The FBI was responding to the scene, and a helicopter landed in front of the Capitol to medevac an injured officer.
A message from the Capitol Police ordered anyone in a House office to "shelter in place," but that order was lifted a short time later.
The House recessed, and the Senate went into a quorum call — dispensing momentarily with its official business — shortly thereafter.
“We’ve locked the doors. We closed the window shades. And we are awaiting further instructions,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told MSNBC. “We’re more or less cut off here. We’re watching TV and just trying to figure out what happened.”
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted: "Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down."
Congress has been locked for the past week and a half in a contentious debate over funding the government, a disagreement in which contributed to a government shutdown that came to pass at the end of Monday.
Last night, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy, R, was the victim of a "minor incident" outside of the Capitol complex.
"A random individual, unknown to the Congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm," a spokesperson for Duffy said in describing the incident. "Mr. Duffy was unharmed. He reported the incident in compliance with House security procedures. Congressman Duffy has requested no further action be taken and there will be no further comment on the matter at this time."
On September 16, a deadly shooting occurred blocks south of the U.S. Capitol complex which contributed to a partial lockdown of the Capitol at that time.
A shooting on July 24, 1998 left two Capitol Police officers dead. And at a constituent event in her district in January 2011, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was seriously injured and six others were killed in a shooting.