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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid