Car chase ends with gunfire near U.S. Capitol

Car chase ends with gunfire near U.S. Capitol
Photo provided by NBC News.
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POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 12:36pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 2:55pm

Police near the U.S. Capitol opened fire on Thursday on a car being chased by authorities, hitting a woman driving the vehicle that also contained a child, an intelligence source told CNN.

The child appeared to be uninjured, according to the source and witnesses.

Capitol Police said an officer was injured in a crash during the afternoon chase that began near the White House.

The chaotic scene, with gunfire erupting near the heart of the U.S. government, brought a swarm of emergency vehicles and caused Congress and surrounding offices to be temporarily locked down.

House and Senate sessions were immediately suspended. Police also closed Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.

CNN's Athena Jones, who was at a Senate office building near the Capitol, said she heard gunshots that sounded like fireworks.

The chase began when the woman driving a black sedan got involved in some kind of verbal altercation with officers at a security checkpoint a block from the White House, the intelligence source said.

As police cars arrived at the scene, the vehicle sped away and led police on a wild chase that included running red lights, according to the source.

When the vehicle approached the area of the Capitol building more than a mile away, officers opened fire at some point, the source said.

The black vehicle crashed into a police car and then into security barriers near the Capitol building, said police and witnesses.

In Congress, a Capitol Police bulletin said reports of gunshots required "all occupants in all House office buildings to shelter in place."

"Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows," the bulletin said. Authorities later lifted the lockdown, with police saying they believed the incident was isolated with no connection to terrorism.

Two people, including a police officer, were transported to a local hospital.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation, which occurred on the third day of a government shutdown due to a stalemate in Congress over government funding.

"The timing on this was really kind of scary," said Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas. "Capitol Hill police are at a lower personnel level because of the shutdown." 

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