News / USA

White House, US Capitol Experience Security Scare

People run for cover as police converge to the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
People run for cover as police converge to the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Cindy Saine
In the midst of bitter budget debate over funding the federal government, Washington police officials say a car tried to ram a White House barricade and was chased by police cars toward the U.S. Capitol building. Reports say the female driver of the car injured a police officer in the crash and that police fired guns at her.

On day three of a government shutdown triggered by political deadlock, debate in the U..S. Capitol was temporarily shut down by a security scare.  The Capitol and all House and Senate office buildings went into lockdown after shots were fired outside the Capitol.  Democratic Congressman Gerald Connolly told VOA he was shaken up by the incident.

"Well I was actually on the balcony when the shots were fired.  So we heard them quite distinctly.  Initially we were thinking, it must be, someone was lighting off fireworks, not firecrackers, because it was too loud, but then it was quite clear they were gunshots," said Connolly.



Frank Schwing, a furloughed federal worker, watched the police stop the car. He spoke to VOA's Indonesian Service.

"They stopped the car, opened the door. They had their guns drawn and asked him to get out. Quickly he backed up, he smashed into one of the police cars and spun around and took off again. That's when there were probably a dozen shots  fired," said Schwing.

The investigation is ongoing, but reports say a woman in a car rammed a security gate at the White House, and then drove to the U.S. Capitol with police pursuing her.  She crashed into a Capitol Police car, injuring an officer.  It is not clear whether the woman fired shots, but police fired shots at her.  There are also reports she had a child in the car.  It is not clear why the woman rammed the White House and hit the police officer.

Capitol Hill Police Chief Kim Dine says the White House and the Capitol are secure.

"We have no information that this is related to terror or is anything other than an isolated incident," said Dine.

Some House members had to shelter in the House chamber during the incident. Congressman Connolly said members did not know exactly what was going on.

"You know, initially, it is so surreal. You think, it is gunfire on the Capitol grounds," he said. "You know my thought was, I was not afraid, but my thought was, I am looking at these tourists and citizens and I am thinking, 'I hope they are going to be safe.'"

Congressional staffers are used to security drills, but it was clear that this was perceived as a real threat.

The House, led by Republicans, has now resumed votes on individual measures to fund parts of the government. The Democratic-controlled Senate rejects those measures. The political battle has gone on for weeks and on Tuesday, much of the federal government shutdown or reduced operations because Congress has not passed a funding bill.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid