Kevin Johnson and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - A car chase that began with a car ramming a barricade near the White House on Thursday ended with gunfire on Capitol Hill and the brief lockdown of the U.S. Capitol.
A federal law enforcement official, who was not authorized to comment publicly, said the driver of the car was a woman. The driver, who led federal authorities on a high-speed chase, was stopped near 2nd and Constitution where there was an exchange of gunfire.
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MSNBC and CNN report that the woman was shot after getting out of the black vehicle near the Hart Senate Office building.
"There are reports of injuries," said Terrance Gainer, the Senate's Sergeant at Arms. CNN quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying there has been "one injury."
Members of Congress and staff members were told by Capitol police to "immediately shelter in place." Less than an hour later, a TV screen in the Senate press gallery flashed an "all clear" message.
The incident involved a car chase that began near the White House and ended near the Capitol, 6 blocks away.
Before the shooting, a vehicle hit barriers near the White House at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15 Street NW. The car didn't breach the barrier near White House, but fled up Pennsylvania Ave., and was stopped at 2nd and Constitution.
Security was heightened at the White House as a precaution. President Obama was also briefed.
The shooting occurred at Maryland Avenue Northeast and Second street, about two blocks from the capitol. The Washington Post quotes the sergeant-at-arms as saying that asuspect has been taken into custody.
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Larry Murr, a former Louisville resident living in Jacksonville, Fla., was visiting the Capitol building when he heard the gunfire, the (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported.
"We were standing there, looking at the building, and all of a sudden we heard a pop-pop-pop-pop," he said, saying he thought he heard four to five shots fired in rapid succession.
In a notice distributed by email, the U.S. Capitol Police advised everyone to "close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows.The notice said gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was on the balcony off of the speaker's lobby when the gunshots erupted, tells reporters that they sounded like "fireworks," he told reporters.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), who was also on the balcony, said he heard "five or six" gunshots.
"Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!" Posey told POLITICO. "Then sirens went off, cops started going everywhere yelling 'get inside, get inside!'"
People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.
U.S. Capitol police said they had received reports of gunshots and one police officer has been injured.
The U.S. Capitol issued this statement:
SHELTER IN PLACE. Gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill requiring staff in all Senate Office Buildings to immediately shelter in place. Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows. Take annunciators, emergency supply kits and escape hoods; and move to your office's assigned shelter in place location or the innermost part of the office away from external doors or windows. If you are not near your office, go to the office nearest to you and shelter with that office and then check in with your OEC. No one will be permitted to enter or exit the building until directed by USCP. Staff is advised to monitor the situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.