UPDATE: US Capitol shooting suspect from Tennessee; lockdown lifted
By Associated Press
UPDATE: There was chaos in the U.S. Capitol Complex on Monday when police shot and wounded a suspected gunman in the visitors center.
The entire complex was immediately locked down as police raced inside and terrified tourists ran for cover.
"Police appeared out of everywhere and they were screaming, 'Run for it! Run for it! Run up that ramp!'" said witness Jill Epstein.
The shooting started around 2:30 p.m. after the man set off an alarm while going through a metal detector and "drew what appeared to be a weapon and pointed it at a police officer, Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said.
The gunman was immediately shot by a police officer, Verderosa said. He is undergoing surgery and his condition was not known, the chief added.
No charges had yet been filed, Verderosa said.
"We believe this is the act of a single person who has frequented the grounds of the Capitol before," Verderosa said.
Law-enforcement sources identified the suspect as 66-year-old Larry Russell Dawson, from Antioch, Tenn.
Dawson was previously charged with disrupting a proceeding of the House of Representatives in October after he shouted about being a "prophet of God," sources told NBC News. He is also believed to have a history of mental health issues, the sources.
Verderosa said a female bystander between the ages of 35 and 45 was also injured. He did not say how or what her condition was.
Meanwhile, the lockdown was lifted at 3:40 p.m.
Congress is currently in recess so lawmakers were never in any danger.
Espstein, executive director of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, said she wandered over to the visitors center to "kill time" before a scheduled meeting with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, when all hell broke loose.
"As we were literally going through the metal detectors, people started screaming, 'Get out! Get out!'" she said. "We didn't know which way to run. We ran out and they told us to get against the wall, so we were crouching against the wall outside the visitors center."
Epstein said the was struck by the jarring contrast between the chaos in the visitors center and the city outside.
"It was surreal," she said. "It as so beautiful out and the cherry blossoms are in bloom and people are running for their lives."
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, roads near the visitor center were shut down and nobody was being allowed to enter or exit the buildings, officials said.
"If you are outside, seek cover," the alert said.
Each year, an estimated three to five million from around the world visit the complex.
Sen. Bob Corker is in Tennessee for the Easter recess.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleishchmann is in his home district in Tennessee as well.
Shelter in place order just went over PA systems in the Capitol. A lot of police activity near visitor center. Roads closed.