- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2006

1:27 p.m.

U.S. Capitol Police today locked down the Capitol and other buildings after receiving reports of the sound of gunfire at a House office building.

Police said they received an unidentified phone call reporting gunfire in the garage of the Rayburn House Office building at about 10:30 a.m.

Officers have sealed off the entire Capitol complex twice as tactical units swept through Rayburn in search of a possible gunman. The Capitol building has since been reopened, but Rayburn remains locked down.

“We have not gotten any reports of anybody being captured, anybody being arrested,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said at a noon press conference. “Right now we want to err on the side of caution. Lives could be at risk. If we have a gunman in the building, we certainly want to find him. It’s premature to assume that it may not be a gunman.”

Police were investigating unconfirmed reports of a man seen carrying a gun in the Rayburn gym, which is in the basement of the building.

A woman also was seen being taken out of the building on a stretcher, but police said that there were no injuries related to the possible incident and that they had no suspects.

Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, issued a statement that a staffer in his office was in the Rayburn gym at the time of the incident and was taken to a hospital. The statement said the woman was not shot or injured, “just a little shaken up under the circumstances.”

Police also said a Capitol Police officer twisted his ankle and was taken to the hospital.

The Senate was in session at the time of the incident, but the House was not. Most lawmakers have already left the District for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Rayburn Building sits southwest of the Capitol building and is bounded by Independence Avenue and South Capitol, First and C streets in Southwest.

It houses the offices of 169 representatives and has four stories above ground, two basements and three levels of underground garage space.


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