Shots fired inside U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, suspect arrested

Shots fired inside U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, suspect arrested

A man with an apparent history of causing disturbances at the U.S. Capitol was shot Monday afternoon when he drew a gun inside the complex’s visitor center, authorities said.

Capitol police did not name the wounded suspect, who Chief Matthew Verderosa said was previously known to his officers.

But ABC News and other news outlets identified him as Larry Dawson of Tennessee, who interrupted a House session last October by shouting that he was a “prophet of God.” 

**EDITORS NOTE: Suspect's face was slightly obscured digitally at the request of DC Fire and EMS Department.** WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28, 2016: Police and EMS personnel transport the person believed to be the gunman away from the shooting scene at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on March 28, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The lone gunman was shot by police and taken into custody and a female civilian was struck by bullet fragments and transported to the hospital. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
**EDITORS NOTE: Suspect's face was slightly obscured digitally at the request of DC Fire and EMS Department.** WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28, 2016: Police and EMS personnel transport the person believed to be the gunman away from the shooting scene at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on March 28, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The lone gunman was shot by police and taken into custody and a female civilian was struck by bullet fragments and transported to the hospital. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Monday, Verderosa said, the man set off a metal detector before pulling a weapon from his clothing at about 2:40 p.m. At least one officer fired, striking the suspect. No officers were injured, but a bystander suffered minor wounds when she was hit by flying shrapnel.

“It has not been determined how many officers fired their weapons,” the chief told reporters.

Verderosa said investigators believe the man was acting alone and was not tied to a terrorist group.

“No reason to believe this is anything other than a criminal act,” he said.

The suspect was undergoing surgery at a Washington hospital late Monday afternoon. Verderosa said the man’s condition wasn’t immediately known.

“One weapon was recovered at the scene,” Verderosa said.

Slideshow: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center shooting>>>

Monday’s shooting sent dozens of Capitol staffers and visitors scrambling for cover.

The Capitol building and White House were locked down for more than an hour as more police responded to the scene. The chief confirmed that officers had located what they believe is the suspect’s vehicle.

Though Congress is currently in recess, there were tens of thousands of people in Washington on Monday during a typically busy spring break and tourist season. An estimated 35,000 people were expected to visit the White House for its annual Easter Egg Roll. Shortly after the lockdown at the White House was lifted, several hundred tourists were seen moving freely outside the fence and taking selfies as if nothing had happened.

The Capitol Visitor Center opened in 2008. It is located on the east end of the National Mall between the Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Capitol Police have been on heightened alert since last week’s terror attacks in Brussels. There was an active-shooter drill at the Capitol earlier Monday.

Gun laws in Washington are among the strictest in the nation. Until 2008, handguns were banned in the District, and until 2014, the carrying of open and concealed weapons was prohibited. (Open carry remains prohibited.)

Yahoo News editor Dylan Stableford and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jason Sickles is a national reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).

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