- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

A man was fatally shot within sight of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, after a traffic stop led to a brief chase that resulted in the driver pulling a weapon on police officers.

U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider said the incident occurred at about 5:15 p.m., when officers attempted to stop a white Mercedes Benz in the 100 block of Massachusetts Avenue Northeast.

The driver of the vehicle, the only person in the car, fled officers, striking and injuring one of them and leading police into Columbus Circle outside Union Station.

The driver fled in the wrong direction along Louisiana Avenue, finally coming to a stop at the intersection with New Jersey Avenue Northwest.

Sgt. Schneider said the driver got out of the car and pulled a gun on officers, who opened fire.

“My understanding is the suspect is dead,” Sgt. Schneider said at a brief press conference outside the Capitol. Sgt. Schneider did not elaborate on the condition of the injured officer, nor did she say what offense led police to pull him over.

The incident, which drew emergency response vehicles, swarms of police officers and the curious stares of onlookers as tourists and commuters made their way around Capitol Hill.

Some entrances to the Capitol were closed briefly as police investigated the shooting, but there was little indication that congressional business was disrupted because of the shooting.

“There were so many gunshots being fired my family got down,” said Robert Drumm, a tourist from Oklahoma who was visiting the nation’s capital with his family.

He said he saw someone being taken away in an ambulance. He said he first noticed trouble when he saw one car speeding and being chased by a police vehicle.

Numerous emergency vehicles converged quickly in the area.

Another witness, Dale Lanigan of Toledo, Ohio, described a similar scene, although he said two police cars gave chase.

As the car went past him, Lanigan said, “the driver had one hand on the wheel and it looked like he was reaching for something.”

Lanigan said he then heard shots and police ordered him to get away. He said the driver of the car was taken away in an ambulance.

Associated Press contributed to this report.