- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An armed man ran through the U.S. Capitol after crashing a sport utility vehicle on the Capitol grounds yesterday in the worst breach of security since a gunman killed two police officers in 1998.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Christopher M. McGaffin identified the intruder as Carlos Greene, 20, of Silver Spring. He said Mr. Greene, tackled after a foot chase through the Capitol, was armed with a loaded handgun and had crack cocaine in his possession.

Mr. Greene appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and “exhibited signs of seizure,” Chief McGaffin said. He was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital.

Police planned to charge Mr. Greene with federal felony possession of a handgun and assault of a police officer, Chief McGaffin said.

“This was unacceptable by my expectations for Capitol Police,” Chief McGaffin said. “It was an unfortunate breach of our security.”

He said Mr. Greene, driving a silver SUV stolen earlier, slammed into a police vehicle blocking an entrance to a major construction site on the Capitol’s east side, across from the Supreme Court.

Mr. Greene drove into the site, stopping at a skylight for the new Capitol Visitor Center, which is scheduled to open next year, Chief McGaffin said, adding that Mr. Greene then bolted up the Capitol steps, entering the building through a third-floor construction door. He then made his way to the basement on the opposite side of the building before being subdued by police outside an office for distribution of flags that lawmakers present to constituents.

Chief McGaffin said there was no information that Mr. Greene was brandishing his weapon and said police chasing him chose not to use deadly force. “That should have been a last resort,” the chief said.

He praised Capitol Police for their actions in capturing the intruder, but said there would be a review of security measures and protocols.

Mr. Greene entered at “an access point that must be available to construction vehicles,” he said, and “there is a risk. That’s why we have concentric rings of security.”

The incident occurred shortly before 8 a.m., and the Capitol was locked down for about an hour before reopening for staff and tourists.

Pfc. W. Scott Humphrey of the Capitol Police went on duty yesterday at 7 a.m. at the north entrance of the Capitol. Although Officer Humphrey did not see Mr. Greene, he said he had heard the crash and estimated that Mr. Greene had run about 50 yards, from the crash site into the Capitol.

“He was fast, very fast,” Officer Humphrey said.

The House was not in session yesterday, and the Senate didn’t convene until yesterday afternoon.

The visitors center is being built in part to provide an extra layer of security before people enter the Capitol following the 1998 shooting deaths of two Capitol police officers.

In that case, a man with a history of mental illness ran through a first-floor door of the Capitol, fatally shot one officer at the door and another inside the adjacent office of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican.

Security around the Capitol increased significantly after that shooting, and again after the September 11 attacks.

Chief McGaffin defended a delay of more than nine hours before police released any official details of the intrusion.

“This is a very unusual event for us, fortunately. I wanted to make sure that we had addressed all of the security needs of the complex before I took time to come forward and share any information with you,” he told reporters.

“I would say this Capitol is a safe building. It was safe this morning, and it is safe tonight,” he said.

• Staff writer Arlo Wagner contributed to this report.

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