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Capitol Hill Lockdown Follows Report of Shots Fired


This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.


And I'm Madeleine Brand.

There were reports of gunfire on Capitol Hill today. Local and federal law enforcement officers are investigating.

Joining me now is NPR Capitol Hill correspondent Brian Naylor.

And Brian, there was a news conference just a short time ago. What did police say?

BRIAN NAYLOR reporting:

Madeleine, Police Sergeant Kimberly Schneider, of the Capitol Police Department, said that there was a report of shots fired inside the Rayburn garage. The Rayburn Building is one of the three House office buildings that house members of Congress's offices and their staff. The garage is located directly under the building. And someone called in a report of shots.

Since then, there have been police swarming the area. There are tactical teams inside the building. The building itself has been locked down, as they try to figure out exactly what was the source of this noise.

(Soundbite of sirens)

BRAND: We hear sounds of sirens...

NAYLOR: The noise there, police, fire trucks coming on the scene right now.

BRAND: Any reports of injuries?

(Soundbite of sirens)

NAYLOR: And I'm having trouble hearing you, Madeleine.

BRAND: You're out...

NAYLOR: There were -- there's very little detail. There have been police around the area all morning. For a while, the Capitol Building itself was locked down, but that's been reopened. And right now they seem to be containing their search to the Rayburn Building itself. It's a Friday before a congressional recess, so there are not as many folks as might be around on a mid-weekday. And the House itself was not in session. So it's hard to know exactly how many people.

But it's quite a large building. There are a lot of offices, several hundred offices. So there is probably several hundred to a thousand people inside the building today.

BRAND: And, Brian, any reports of injuries at all?

NAYLOR: No, there've been no reports of any injuries. They haven't found anything, basically. They haven't found anybody injured. They haven't -there's been no finding of any shell casings or anything of that matter.

There's a couple of things going on inside the building. First of all, there is a police firing range in the basement. There's also a lot of construction work that's going on. And so, you know, it's possible that a car backfired or somebody didn't close the door on the firing range. But until they get that all figured out, I think the police are going to continue to search.

BRAND: So it hasn't even been confirmed that it was gunfire at this point.

NAYLOR: That's right, just the sounds of gunfire. And they haven't found any casings. They haven't had any reports of anybody suspicious. I should say that in order to get into the garage itself you have to present a Capitol Hill pass. They inspect your car. You don't go through a metal detector until you actually enter the building itself and exit the garage and enter the building. So it's possible somebody - it's conceivable it could have been a gun, but not just anyone can walk in off the street into the building.

BRAND: All right. Well, thank you very much, Brian Naylor from Capitol Hill.

And NPR will be following this story as we learn more. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
Madeleine Brand
Madeleine Brand is the host of NPR’s newest and fastest-growing daily show, Day to Day. She conducts interviews with newsmakers (Iraqi politicians, US senators), entertainment figures (Bernardo Bertolluci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Gervais), and the everyday people affected by the news (an autoworker laid off at GM, a mother whose son was killed in Iraq).