- 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 reportedly pulling a weapon on police officers.

U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said officers tried to stop a white Mercedes-Benz about 5:15 p.m. in the 100 block of Massachusetts Avenue Northeast.

The driver of the vehicle, a 35-year-old man who was the only person in the car, fled from officers. The man then struck an officer who was on foot and led pursuing officers into Columbus Circle in front of Union Station.

The driver fled in the wrong direction along Louisiana Avenue, coming to a stop at New Jersey Avenue and C Street Northwest and ultimately crashing into a police cruiser in a heavily guarded area about a block north of the Capitol grounds. Sgt. Schneider said the driver got out of the car and pulled a gun on officers. She said the officers told the man to drop the weapon.

“The suspect did not comply and was shot,” she said.

She described the officers’ injuries as “very minor.”

She did not say what offense led to the initial traffic stop.

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.

“We hear pop, pop, pop, like a gun,” said Carol Lanigan, of Toledo, Ohio, describing how she saw a white car come flying down the street with two police cars chasing it.

She said she heard about four or five shots.

“There were so many gunshots being fired, my family got down,” Robert Drumm, a tourist from Oklahoma who was visiting the District with his family, told the Associated Press.

Some entrances to the Capitol were closed briefly as police investigated the shooting, but the Capitol was not locked down and there was little indication that the shooting disrupted congressional business, which included the third day of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

• Sean Lengell contributed to this report.

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