A dramatic car chase through the streets of Washington from near the White House to the U.S. Capitol ended in gunfire Thursday when the driver was shot and killed as lawmakers and aides huddled in a lockdown.
The identity of the driver — a woman — was not released. Driving a black sedan, she rammed security barricades near the White House. Then the car, apparently carrying a child, raced up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol where Congress was in session.
Police gave chase and fired at the car. It finally came to a halt at 2nd Street and Constitution Avenue.
The incident rattled Washington just three weeks after a government contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, about 1.5 miles from the Capitol, killing 12 people and wounding three others before he was shot to death by police.
When Thursday’s shooting erupted, lawmakers in Congress were trying to find a solution to a budget impasse that partially shut down the U.S. government this week. The Capitol was locked down for about an hour during the incident.
All of the shooting appears to have been done by police; law enforcement sources said the driver did not shoot a gun and there is no indication that she had one.
All four members of New Hampshire congressional delegation were safe during the brief Capitol Hill lockdown.
"We’re safe," Rep. Carol Shea-Porter spokesman Ben Wakana emailed UnionLeader.com shortly after the shooting incident occurred and the lockdown was ordered by U.S. Capitol Police.
Wakana said Shea-Porter’s limited staff was in her offices in the Longworth House Office Building, while Shea-Porter herself was in the Capitol Building.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and their staffs, also limited in number due to the federal government shutdown, were briefly "sheltered in place" in their offices in the Hart and Russell Senate office buildings, respectively, according to spokesmen Shripal Shah and Jeff Grappone. Rep. Ann Kuster and her staff were also in their office in the Cannon House Office Building, spokesman Rob Friedlander said.
None of the four members of the delegation were near the shooting that prompted the lockdown, their spokesmen said.
Just before the Capitol lockdown, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona was on the Senate floor urging that President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators launch negotiations to break the deadlock over government funding and a debt limit increase.
The House had just passed a bill to fund the National Guard and reservists who are not on active duty during the shutdown.
The Capitol police, who were deemed "essential" staff, were at work despite the government shutdown, but they are not being paid.
"What really comes home to me is that these are all people who are working without pay right now," Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said on CNN.