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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs