The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 3, 2013

Chase from White House to Capitol ends in gunfire

Woman in black Lexus taken into custody, child removed

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman driving a black Lexus with a young child in the car tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase that ended in gunfire outside the Capitol, witnesses and officials said.

Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol as lawmakers inside debated how to end a government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex for about an hour, and both houses of Congress went into recess.

The pursuit began when a car tried to ram a security barricade blocking the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the case by name and insisted on anonymity.

Witnesses said at least 20 police cars chased the Lexus toward Capitol Hill, where the car crashed outside the Capitol.

Tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah said he walked toward the scene, curious about what was going on.

"Then I heard the gunfire" and hit the ground, he said.

Patty Bills, who works at Faith and Action, a Christian outreach group near the shooting scene, said she saw officers firing at the driver. It was not immediately clear whether the driver was armed.

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said the driver was in custody but he did not disclose her condition.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said a child was taken from the car to a hospital but said he knew of no harm to the youngster. Ofori-Attah said the child appeared to be about 2 to 3 years old.

A police officer was injured in the traffic accident but Gainer said the injuries were not life threatening.

"We heard three, four, five pops," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who was walking from the Capitol to an office building across the street. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

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