Senate lockdown lifted

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

The Senate lifted its lockdown Monday afternoon after a little more than an hour, though Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer defended the initial decision, which came more than seven hours after the Navy Yard shooting, saying he believes it kept staffers safe.

Even though the Senate shut its doors, the House side never did — leaving a bizarre situation where tours continued and staffers were able to walk back and forth, even as armed squadrons of police stood at the hallways connecting the Senate to the rest of the Capitol.

Mr. Gainer, in a notice to Senate employees late in the afternoon, said he had acted out of an abundance of caution, and took pains to defend his decision, which put him at odds with the rest of official Washington.

“As the authorities went about the complicated mission at the Navy Yard, our immediate concern has been the unknowns. Is there a second or third shooter or isn’t there? Is this act of workplace violence or something more sinister?” Mr. Gainer said.

“There are ongoing reports of a second shooter; lookouts have been issued. Accordingly the decision was made to go to a lock down, a limited shelter in place. This maximized your security, allowed the USCP to concentrate on potential unknowns, on people approaching the complex, and provided additional time to gather information,” he said.

Mr. Gainer said the “lessons of Boston, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Aurora are clear, and just still too raw.”
Mr. Gainer had scheduled the lockdown to last two hours but lifted it an hour early.

The Supreme Court, which is just across the street from the Capitol, did not go on lockdown either.

The Capitol complex stands about 15 blocks away from the Navy Yard, where 12 people were shot dead on Monday morning. One man identified as a shooter died at the scene, and police initially said there could be two other shooters, though later cleared one of the men.

Mr. Gainer imposed the lockdown on the Senate even after police cleared that man.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks