tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 28, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
what you're seeing. we came on the air initially to report that the u.s. capitol was under lockdown. that was true. all the employees there were told to shelter in place, because for a while, they did not know what they had. but now, 4:00 p.m. eastern time, we should tell you, this is what we know. our own pete williams is reporting from washington that initially, while there were several reports of a law enforcement victim of this shooting, this appeared to be a lone male who showed up at a security checkpoint at the u.s. capitol visitor's center, perhaps emotionally disturbed. but apparently showed up with a weapon. there was an encounter with u.s. capitol police, as pete williams was able to report, one person was wounded in that encounter and hospitalized. there is a subsequent report
that someone else may have suffered a minor injury as a result of that same discharge of the weapon. meaning, perhaps, shrapnel from a nearby marble wall or something else that was hit. the shelter in place order went out along with the lockdown. members of the news media, as we've been listening to the cell phone coverage of luke russert, who was sheltering in place inside the russell senate office building, the closest office building to the senate side of the capitol, it meant everyone, while the u.s. capitol police rolled up in a robust show of force, along with d.c. capitol police, along with d.c. fire, d.c. ems, and these were the first anxious moments. someone paused to take ier iphone video. this officer goes by with a long
barrel weapon, with the u.s. capitol police, we saw officers on bikes, vans, suvs, cars, and so someone on their way off the capitol grounds was recording that video as we look at d.c. ambulance and fire units. pete williams, our justice correspondent, has been reporting all of it throughout from our washington newsroom and has some more details. pete >> so, what happened here, this all began about an hour ago, just before 3:00 eastern time, when a man walked into the capitol's visitor's center. and it's behind that officer, on the east side of the capitol bilge, but you walk down below street level, to enter the capitol building. and the entrance is actually some distance in front of, if you will, the capitol. that's where you enter. that's where most visitors now enter to get into the capitol building. that is the entrance itself. you can see where it says u.s.
capitol visitor's center. it's right there that the person walked in, walked past that little chain, walked into the doors, we're told, where there is a metal detector, and according to officials who are familiar with what happened, that man, the word that we've heard is, presented a weapon entering. now, we don't know if the person aimed it at someone, brandished it, but it was clearly visible. guns are illegal here in washington. that includes firearms. and at that point, that man was shot by a u.s. capitol police officer. that much we are quite confident of, because we have heard it from a number of sources. that person was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of the injuries. we don't know what that person's condition is. we don't know how serious the gunshot wound is.
secondly, we're told that someone else was injured in that shooting encounter. one shot fired, second person injured, because of either shrapnel or a ricochet or material that was dislodged and flew in the air and hit someone. we had initially been told that that second person was, in fact, a capitol police officer, but now we are thinking that that's not the case, it was someone else who was in the visitor's center at the time. those injuries are not considered to be serious, but that person was taken to the hospital for treatment. undoubtedly, charges will be fired here. it is illegal to have a gun in washington. it is illegal to carry a gun into a federal facility. so there are a number of possible charges that can be filed and we'll wait to see how that's handled. sometimes these things are handled in federal court. sometimes or the full federal court. sometimes they're handled by local charges by the district of columbia, because it's d.c. city
ordinance that would be violated by bringing a gun. and we've seen these things handled both ways, when people bring guns in and are considered to be a danger. but the word went out quickly that an officer had fired a shot. initially, there was some concern that there might be somebody else involved. but that quick lly evaporated. no other assistance was thought, so i think they're going to wind this down here pretty shortly, brian. >> yeah, we're hoping for the all-clear. for folks just join us, that should be the next thing we're able to report, is the all-clear. we have certainly been told more than once that this was an isolated individual, an isolated incident, not part of something larger. as we've also been saying, this did happen during one of the peek days for tourism in washington, d.c. the monday following easter sunday, a lot of schools spring
breaks, kind of coincide this time of year the cherry blossoms bring people from all over the world and all over the nation. and so does washington, d.c. a number of families with young children were in the middle of tours of the capital, perhaps seeing their member of congress, perhaps seeing the office of their member of congress, since most members are out of tun during recess right now. luke russert standing by on capitol hill with another such family, luke. >> reporter: hey there, brian, here with the webb family from st. louis, missouri, whoed th h shelter in place inside the capitol for about 40 minutes. here for the white house easter egg roll this morning and to see the cherry blossoms. what was it like being in there? >> i was a little nervous. you didn't know exactly what was going on. our tour guide was told to keep us in the rotunda and not to
move because there was a shooter in the visitor's building. >> reporter: you were literally in the famous capitol rotunda with the paintings and all the statues. how long were you in there? >> about 30 to 35 minutes. >> reporter: mr. webb, obviously, terrorism has been in the news recently. what was it look for you being in there? >> i was nervous, but i try to stay calm. we have the kids, on vacation, trying to enjoy the trip. so i was trying to stay calm as much as possible, and to make sure the kids were okay. >> reporter: were you guys worried inside there at all? >> yes, a little. >> reporter: why was that? >> because i didn't know if the shooter was going to come in or not. >> reporter: how about you? >> i was scared. i was scared a little and i didn't know the they were going to come up, because we were down -- where george washington was going to be buried and we had went up and i thought he was going to come. >> that must have been a frightening thing for you guys. what's it like coming to your nation's capital and this happening? this is something you'll
probably never forget. >> definitely never forget, and one of my worries on our way here. >> reporter: you probably talked about this? this is something that could happen here at the capitol, here in washington. >> i didn't discuss it with my husband, i didn't want to jinx anything, but it was on my mind. >> reporter: was it on your mind? >> you know, kind of in the back of the mind? you know what i mean, but i just wanted to have the kids here. we came for a good cause, the white house egg roll, and we just wanted to kind of just enjoy it. this sucks, but i think overall, we still had a good trip. >> reporter: i hope your trip is uneventful moving forward, and you guys enjoy washington, see the cherry blossoms and enjoy the weather. there's a lot of fun things to do here. i can promise, i've lived here my whole life, it's usually not this scary. enjoy your time. did a great job? >> did a great job. >> reporter: you see it, brian, obviously it was nerve-racking for a lot of the visitors who were here, especially having to stay in the capitol rotunda for 45 minutes.
unprecedented. usually you're in and out of there as a tourist group for 10 or 15 minutes. i couldn't help but being overcome with a little bit of emotion, listening to those kids saying they were scared, worried about a shooter coming in to harm them when they were just here to see their nation's capitol. it resonated a lot. >> their dad summed it up in one word. thank you, luke. back to jim cavanaugh, you know, jim, that is the heartbreaking part of this. to hear a nice family, the mother of young kids, say that terrorism was a concern on their way to washington. she didn't want to raise it, didn't want to discuss it or bring it up, to hear a young child use a word that used to be a term of art, only in law enforcement, and only in the very most recent years has it gone from law enforcement to the media to common public usage, and that is shooter. it's not a word you expect to hear from a 6-year-old.
>> that's exactly right. in the climate we've had in the country, from all kinds of motives that the kids can say those words. so many things in the lexicon that used to be buried deep in police and military business is on the minds of every citizen. years ago, we talked about ieds, we didn't want to use those words, basically a homemade bomb. now everyone knows what it is. it's bureaucratic speak for a homemade bomb. but it was very much inside baseball. and so is shooter. actor. all these words we used to do inside the business, everybody uses them now, unfortunately. >> jim cavanaugh, former special agent with the atf, and jim, i noted an atf wind breaker there on one of the scenes o. intersection, so your old home team is on the job, as you would expect. pete williams is in our washington newsroom with another development in this. >> just further information here. you were talking about the
concern about terrorism. and of course, these days, that's the first thing that comes to anyone's mind. but there are a couple of reasons why we think this is not the case. first of all, several officials have told us that this person appeared to have some mental problems. and secondly, we've also heard now that the capitol police were familiar with this person. that he was known to the police officers, suggesting that he had been around the capitol building grounds before had perhaps had some encounters with them and they were kind of watching for him. that may be one reason why, another reason why the shot was fired here so quickly. but to emphasize what we're told here, our understanding is that this man walked into the visitor's center and pulled the gun out of a something -- out of his pocket, out of his coat, out of his backpack, out of
something and as soon as they saw the gun, that's when the shot was fired. we don't -- as best we understand it, we don't believe he fired a shot. that is to say that the man with the gun, we don't believe he fired a shot. we don't believe that more than one shot was fired. just a single shot by the capitol police officer that wounded the man with the gun and then apparently someone else is hurt as a result of that. how precisely, we don't know, but not seriously. >> pete, we're supposed to, correct me if i'm wrong, hear from capitol police in an on-camera, more formalized way, initially they said three minutes from now, at 4:15 eastern, is that correct? >> that's the initial thought. these things never seem to happen exactly when they say, but we'll presumably hear from them shortly. again, another sign that this thing is over. >> and we are expecting to get all the very latest on this.
i'm just told that leading the press conference is, u.s. capitol police chief, matthew verdirosa, sworn in as the new chief one week ago on march 21st, as we say farewell to d.c. fire engine 26, it's all safe for them to leave, certainly. he is the ninth chief of police in the history of the department. started with the supreme court division, went over to the capitol in '86. they're going to be briefing, if you know, the city at first, and constitution. all of it, again, a welcome sign. anytime you get a press briefing, it's usually a sign that the larger business has been taken care of. and for the benefit of all the people trying to enjoy a sunny, windy, beautiful afternoon in the nation's capitol, and
believe me, the cherry blossoms, when they're at their peak as they are now, attract tourists from all over the planet to washington, d.c., which is just a beautiful city this time of year, and anytime. so for their benefit, for everyone's sake, we can't get that all-clear fast enough. pete williams, you still on with us? pete is on the telephone gathering still more information. jim cavanaugh remains with us at former special agent at alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. jim, this is an interesting wrinkle from pete. if this subject was known to law enforcement, perhaps as a lingerer, someone familiar to them, a hanger-on, that usually means there will be imagery, either facial recognition software or something else that
they will have a record of him on the hill. >> exactly. and possibly personal recognition. police officers that are on their beat, and capitol hill is no different, brian. they'll know the characters or the people who are always -- if a person is having mental difficulties, is drawn to the capitol, you know, might be making some israeveiled threatse mumblings, writing letters to senators, trying to go in to see important people all the time. and those are not crime, so the police become familiar with people like that. when i was a uniformed cop, we had people on the beat like that. we knew them, we kind of judged whether they were dangerous, would push them away, take them away, take them home, depending on what they were doing. and the capitol police are not different. and they could have recognized a guy like that. but the whole equation changes if he pulled out a firearm. and of course, one shot, so, you know, as you know, police
officers do not fire their gun, are not supposed to fire their gun, other than to stop the activity, to stop what's happening. they don't shoot to kill, they shoot to stop. if you shoot and the man pulled out a gun and drops to the gun, the shooting stops. sometimes people, we've shot them eight, nine, ten times and they're still there with the gun. you can still shoot them, because you're trying to stop them from shooting you. one shot. not everybody does, but this man apparently stopped whatever threat was there. and now we're going to hear from the new chief, as you say, exactly what happened right there at the visitor's center. >> jim, this is the first video we've had from, obviously, shaky, handheld, frantic, from inside the visitor's center, but it shows you the kind of stantions that loop back and forth, that spread out the line,
anyone that's flown will recognize those from a tsa line, and the similar is very similar to going through a tsa checkpoint at an airport. we're all used to it. this was put up on instagram by a visitor. let's see what audio comes along with this. >> so there you have, so picture this, you're in washington, d.c., on spring break, with your children, you're in line to take a tour of the capitol, which everyone in the family might not be so psyched about, and then this happens and you hear those dreaded words, as we were discussing with jim, used to be terms of art in law enforcement, "active shooter." and all you can think about is getting somewhere safe and doing it in a hurry. also, while jim cavanaugh was
speaking, and i haven't heard word one about this, but on the left-hand side of the screen, we just aired pictures from our nbc station in washington, wrc, of a subject coming out on a stretcher, being put into the ambulance, that we're told later went to washington hospital center in the northeast corner of the city. we will try to rerack that and show it to you. you might have been seeing without knowing what we're watching. it had the channel 4 logo. here it is. this is a male subject coming out, receiving oxygen. the stretcher is transferred into the rig and then the subject is transported. there's reason to assume this and the victim of the gunshot
inside are one and the same earlier. and we now believe, erroneous sli, it was reported that a police officer had been shot. again, we'll hear from u.s. capitol police in a few minutes, but it appears it was a u.s. capitol police officer who discharged his or her weapon, after a male visitor in line, quote, presented a firearm at the security checkpoint. there could be a number of reasons for this, but, of course, no excuse for this, where firearms are striptly prohibited, not only within the confines of the district of columbia, but certainly in the basement entrance of the visitor's center to a place where 535 elected representatives and their staff members and the permanent employees all work. again, this is instagram video of the first frantic moments in that visitor's center.
luke russert remains on capitol hill for us. luke? >> i'm now here at first and constitution, and that is the street that continues to be blocked off. that's where the supreme court is located, as well as the library of congress. police have blocked it off, put up the crime tape. the reason why, that is the street you would enter on if you were to go into the capitol visitor's center, where this incident took place. that remains closed. however, constitution avenue, which runs parallel to that, which is where a lot of these senate office buildings are located, where i had to shelter in place, that is now back open to vehicle traffic. so it seems that the scene is now concentrated literally on the capitol visitor's center, which is shut off to pedestrians and news media. we're being kept back here. there's a whole crux of cameras. this is where you expect to hear from the chief of capitol police, i was told, apparently. so uh suspect this investigation, located over here, will be ongoing throughout
the day. the big question now is whether or not the capitol visitor's center reopens later today or reopens tomorrow. and that's something that at least symbolically, a lot of members of congress will want to have happen, presuming everything is safe and it's okay to do so, because they truly do believe, as i mentioned earlier, that this is the people's house, the people's complex, and the people, should they come from missouri, wisconsin, or wherever, should be permitted to see it and go inside and take a tour and meet their member of congress when they're in session. >> presumably, luke, if it did not reopen today, it would be for forensic reasons, just crime scene, keeping it in twakt and not touching anything and gathering of dust and prints and all of that, and not, of course, any lingering danger. we're watching the different vehicles, different jurisdictions, federal protection service, i saw a uniformed secret service, metropolitan police, park
service police, but mostly, u.s. capitol police, this is their beat, their bailiwick, their domain. we are going to fit in a quick break here. we have reason to believe on the other side of this break, we will get our first live on-camera briefing from the u.s. capitol police on this incident that caused a lockdown about to be lifted on capitol hill in washington. please stay with us. born with a hunger to fly and a passion to build something better. and what an amazing time it's been, decade after dade of innovation, inspiration and wonder. so, we say thank you ameca for a century of trust, for the privilege of flying higher and higher, together. ♪ if you have allergy congestion muddling through your morning is nothing new. introducing rhinocort® allergy spray from the makers of zyrtec®. powerful relief from nasal allergy symptoms,
this is the first, so far, the only instagram video we've seen. this is the visitor's hall, a huge structure, underground, as you go into the u.s. capitol. you form a long queue and go through tsa-style security. and it was in here that they heard, some of them, apparently heard a gunshot, followed by the words "active shooter." we've heard alarms going off, siren, police whistle, just a crazy, frenetic, frantic time for the mostly families who were in line to go to the u.s. capitol. outside the capitol in the past few minutes, we have seen video from our nbc station in washington, wrc, that showed a single male subject getting into
an ambulance from a gurney. i've looked at it now several times. i don't think the emts were doing -- no, it doesn't look like they're doing chest compressions. it looks like they are just securing something to gurney. he has been stripped of most of his clothes. we don't know the identity of this person. we do know that it looks like we had two wounded people inside. the gun that discharged -- well, let's bring in our justice correspondent, pete williams. pete, tell the -- what we know as of now, knowing we're about to hear from u.s. capitol police. >> what we know is that about 3:00 eastern time, so about an hour and a half ago, a man walked into the u.s. capitol's visitor's center. this is the new facility that you enter under ground, under the u.s. capitol building.
and before he got to the metal detectors, he pulled a gun out. either out of his pocket or a backpack, somehow made it visible, presented a gun, is the term a couple of law enforcement officials are using. when he did that, he was shot by a u.s. capitol police officer. we don't know the extent of his injuries. he was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. as a result of that single shot being fired, we believe, someone else who was in the visitor's center was injured. that's the extent of what we're relatively certain. how that second person was injured is unclear, but several people have said shrapnel. perhaps the round itself, perhaps the round knocking something off the marble walls or kicking something loose that struck someone. those injuries were not said to be serious, but nonetheless, that second person was taken to a nearby hospital, as well, for treatment. the initial word was that the
second person that was injured was also a capitol police officer. we don't believe that to be the case. that person that was -- that fired the gun -- sorry, that had the gun, that was shot, is someone who is known to capitol police, we are told. someone who has had previous run-ins with capitol police, we haven't confirmed the name of that person yet, but someone who was known to capitol police because of a previous altercation. that previous altercation did not involve a firearm. but the reason i bring all of that up, is to say all the information we have so far is this is not an act of terrorism. this is not a political act. this is not something inspired by or directed at some specific member of congress or policy or enactment or pending legislation. this is somebody who has a history of mental problems, we're told. so we're waiting to get the
final report. as a result of that report that a shot was fired, the normal protocols were followed, the capitol was put in lockdown, people on the hill were told to stay in their offices. not many members around today, because they're traditionally not around until very late on monday. they don't really start taking votes until tuesday, because members are still traveling back to washington from their districts over the weekend. but that was -- that word went out. a similar word went out to the supreme court and to the white house. the white house was also temporarily put on lockdown. police were initially concerned that there could be someone else. they quickly satisfied themselves that that was not the case. that the incident was over. and after quite a long time, people were allowed to leave their offices on the hill and tourists were allowed to move again. the kmol police visitor's center -- the capitol visitor's center, rather, remains closed and will be for at least the
rest of the day, i'm sure, while they conduct the criminal investigation that will follow here. >> pete, i remember back, post-9/11 era, when they announced the plans for this visitor's center, we almost couldn't believe they were going to stretch the entrance across what is, in effect, an outdoor plaza city block-sized piece of property, over to adjacent to the supreme court, on first street. it was just an unfathomable distance to extend this underground from the capitol, all by way of saying, there are reasons for everything. and that theory of concentric circles and securing a place like the capitol, i think when this story is written, it will have worked today. >> yes. and the first interest in doing this actually proceeded the 9/11 attacks, although they were certainly one of the main reasons for doing it. a mentally disturbed man walked
into the u.s. capitol in 1998 and shot and killed two capitol police officers, made his way some dance into the rotunda of the capitol building and toward some of the leadership offices before he was finally shot and brought down. he never has stood trial. his name is russell weston. and he's never been found mentally fit to stand trial, but that incident itself was one of the main reasons for constructing this capitol visitor's center, to make the main entrance into the capitol, as you say, move it away, but the second thing is, to give people more of an orientation. in all that distance you walk before you get under the building itself, you can see some history and get almost a multi-media presentation about the u.s. capitol and what you're about to see. so it serves several purposes.
>> we're looking at the incredible variety of police officers and weaponry that was diploid today. the vehicles, s.w.a.t.-team style armored vehicles ar-15 style weapons. pete, it's really, again, post-9/11 era, an army materializes now in any major city and especially on capitol hill in washington, in no time. >> yes, and you see now not quite the same specialized weaponry, but in the rollout of additional security after the brussels attacks, you would see officers carrying those long weapons now in train stations, in airports, subway stations. so, the police officers want to make sure they're not seriously outgunned, so they have those long rifles, those more powerful
weapons they can deploy, in addition to their normal side arms that they would have at any given time. those special weaponry, special teams are brought out here. but there's so many different law enforcement organizations around washington that are responsible for various parts of security in the capitol. but around the capitol building itself, it's the considerable force of the u.s. capitol police. this has been their pons all day. and frankly, brian, that was one of the things that told us that this was a criminal act here and not an act of terrorism, because other law enforcement organizations were not called in. they initially responded as they normally would, but then the word went out that they wouldn't need any help here. so that was another -- to use a term, in context, another reassuring sign. >> yeah. that this was not multiple organizations needed. the cameras are assembled, a small semi-circle, waiting for
the u.s. capitol police. you see that in the box on the lower right-hand side of your screen. i'm sure the chief is getting briefed on what they can and cannot say. that gentleman is not the chief, rather, someone for the camera people to focus on. as time goes by, more people post their videos on social media, from various times in the lockdown. this is one we have looked at several times. you see the vehicles are -- this is the initial response so the vehicles are still rolling up, and then later in this video, you will see a capitol police officer on a bike. the last of the tourists and staffers are being led away. and then this police officer goes by on the left. you'll see a police officer on a bike on the right.
and then, finally, a police officer with a rifle walks by on the left. but these are, again, all the first moments. this would be a bit of a different scene if the house of representatives were in session. those are the house steps, right directly up from you. pete williams has more? >> reporter: brian, now we have confirmation of who this person is. several officials tell us his name is larry russell dawson of antioch, tennessee. and the reason he's known to capitol police officers is that last october, he disrupted a proceeding of the house. and i'm looking at court documents, he was charged with disorderly and disruptive conduct on capitol grounds and also resisting or interfering with a police officer. the charges said he assaulted, resisted, opposed, and interfered with a law enforcement officer in washington, knowing that person was a police officer.
apparently, he shouted out during a proceeding of the house, and disrupted it while it was underway. he shouted that he was a prophet of god, as congressmen were speaking. he was escorted away by police so that's why he was known to them. the charges i'm looking at here were filed in the washington, d.c. superior court, not the federal courthouse down the street. so he was presumably out on bond from those charges. i'm checking to see if those were -- i assume those are misdemeanor charges, not felonies. so there is -- that's the reason he was known. but there was no sign that that previous encounter with the police involved a firearm. >> and pete, that would presumably have meant that he made his way to a seat in the gallery, while congress was in
session and enforcement of that falls under the umbrella of the sergeant at arms of the house? >> that's right. there is a visitor's gallery, you can come in and watch the house in session. if you're going to go up to the visitor's gallery, you'll obviously go through metal detectors -- it's been a while i've been to the visitor's gallery, but perhaps once, perhaps twice, once to get into the capitol complex. any plays you enter the capitol building, either the main capitol itself with the dome on it, or any of the house and senate office buildings that outlie it, you can't get in without passing through a metal detector. so that would get you into the capitol building itself. as you're looking at this aerial map, the house chamber would be the one below the -- to the bottom part of the capitol building. you can see the capitol building itself, where it says capitol hill, and the dome, the "o" is sort of right over the dome. and you see a section, a wing of the building there, it's got a
green roof. the bottom one, that's the house side of the capitol. and that's where he presumably, according to these charges, disrupted a session of the house while it was underway. and that's why he was known to police. and to our viewers -- >> brian, one other thing here. i'm finding a letter in the court documents that he sent to the court from his home address in tennessee in january of this year, calling himself a minister and true prophet of god. it says, i've been called and chosen and sent to you this day. and he says, i will not comply with the court order. i will not surrender myself to your office. i will not be governed -- basically, he says, i'm only subject to divine law, not to civil law. >> so if you're a big modern police department like the u.s. capitol police, pete, you've got to file with this subject and so many others like him,
individuals known to you. you know their background, their home address, you know their court record in this case. you have facial recognition. there's just no telling when they're going to pay you a visit. >> that's right and shortly after he was arrested for disrupting the house proceedings in october, he was -- the court issued an order telling him to stay away from the u.s. capitol building and grounds. and it said, basically, you have to stay away in order to retrieve your car. this was back in october so he was under a court order to stay away from the capitol building. >> so it's -- as we keep saying, law enforcement has so many terms for everything, one of them is edp for emotionally disturbed person. this is a potential, a possible emotionally disturbed person
with certainly a record with the house of representatives, if he, indeed, interrupted a session of congress from the gallery. i was about to say, we give the same civics lesson once a year at the state of the union address. it is from the house gallery that the president speaks. house is 335 members larger than the senate. it is an enormous gallery. when you're seated in the visitor's gallery, you are obviously closely watched. there are members of the capitol police, plains clothed and uniformed watching over to make sure you behave yourself and make sure there are no outbursts. and apparently this gentleman was arrested for doing exactly that. the pictures you're seeing on the left are all generally taken minutes ago of equipment. we've watched this fire engine leave the capitol grounds many
times. but we are very limited, still, in however many views -- bless you -- we can show you from capitol hill. because cameras and crews have not been allowed to get back into their normal positions. luke russert was in the russell senate office building. and for the longest time, we were limited to hearing from luke on a cell phone. he has been liberated from those confines and is now outdoors on capitol hill. luke? >> reporter: yeah, hey, brian. like i mentioned earlier, we're sloi legetting back to normal here. constitution avenue is back open to vehicle traffic. people are permitted to walk here on the sidewalks. you can't walk up to the capitol right now unless off pass. an interesting development just within the last minute. you see that police car right behind me? the chief of police for washington, d.c., kathy lanier, just showed up.
and in the last half hour, a lot of d.c. police have shown up. and i'm sure pete can speak to this better than i can, but from talking to a few of the capitol police around here, d.c. police will have some jurisdiction in this investigation. so the fact the chief of police of d.c. showed up here on the scene gives you an idea of the magnitude of this story and how important they view it, even though it happened on federal capitol grounds. so it will be interesting to see how that develops. other than that, if you go here to my right, you see the scrum of media. we now have a lot of foreign media, print media, local domestic, like ourselves, awaiting information from the capitol police, and we're told perhaps even d.c. police on what exactly happened and what the status is of this investigation and how it's going to move forward. as far as business as usual, i talked to a few of my friends who work for different members of congress. they say they went back to work, they're staying in their offices, but it's fair to say, as i mentioned that family earlier, that despite the fact
as washingtonians, you take this day by day, if something happens at these buildings we work at, the capitol, the state department, the pentagon, but this does rattle nerves. especially a week after brussels, the folks i spoke to who worked within these buildings, this rattled them a little bit, especially because of the drill this morning. that the expectation was this morning, oh, the p.a. system going off again, this is just a drill. when you see police officers with big machine guns running, a sense of chaos, shelter in place, there is an element of fear. and while that will be downplayed, it certainly was existing today, without doubt. >> and luke, if you are a legislative aid, let's say, to a member of the house of representatives from ohio, and this is a recess and the member of congress is not in washington today, are the staff members apt to be at work anyway? >> reporter: they are. they show up. one of the popular things that
people like to say is congress is always on recess, nobody is wo working, but in fact the d.c. staff works pretty much around the clock, with the exception of the federal holidays. it is more relaxed, though. everything from the dress code, most ditch the suit, they ditch the tie. they ditch the business suit. people wear more casual clothing, but a lot of the lobbying groups continue to stop by. but also, remember, if you are coming here to the capitol, like some of those families we spoke to earlier and you were here from the cherry blossom weekend, here for president obama and the white house and the easter egg roll, you would go, ordinarily, through your member of congress, if you wanted to arrange a more personalized tour of the capitol. and you have a crux of that here during the tourist season. you have a lot of legislative staff around, not only to facilitate those types of tourists, but to work on the business of the country. i want to bring up something i mentioned earlier, though. is there is an element of, you just sort of deal with this, if you work here, and we often have
suspicious packages that close down areas of the capitol complex for long period of time, are almost universally cleared as being okay. but going back to the government shutdown in 2013, when there was a shooting like this, when you see the movement and you see how quickly it goes, where there's one or two officers running and suddenly, it's 15, 20, 30, the big vehicles come out, and machine guns come out, that's when you realize just how much the capitol police have to prepare for this threat, 24/7, 365, and they are always here, no matter what time of the year you can find capitol police at the main entrance to the capitol every single day of the year, every minute of the year. it's extraordinary, to the degree to which they keep this place safe, brian. >> i was saying, luke, think about what they have responsibility for. the building that is to many people the symbol of our democracy, the dome, you can see being erected in the background during still pictures of
lincoln's inaugural, the air rights over the building, which we never used to have to think about. they've been breached now by manned aircraft, they been breached by drones. 535 people, elected representatives, and then all the staff you just mentioned, all the workers who make the place go. it's a -- along with a network of tunnels connecting it to the adjacent offices. what a staggering list of responsibilities. >> and not to mention, another thing that is quite commonplace here is visits from very important dignitaries, international dignitaries. whether it be the prime minister of israel. we even had pope francis here last year. there is a lot of responsibility that falls on this police force, and they do a tremendous job. i pass through the mags countless times a day. when you and pete were talking about earlier, what it takes to actually get into the house
chamber -- you have to go through a another set of mags -- >> let me interrupt you -- >> reporter: we're going to the press conference. let's go. >> good afternoon. >> every day, thousands of people visit the united states capitol. >> step a little closer. >> every day, thousands of people visit the united states capitol and member offices and over 2 million people a year are screened through the capitol visitor's center. today at approximately 2:39 p.m., an adult male subject entered the north screening facility of the capitol visitor's center. during routine administrative screening, the individual drew what appeared to be a weapon and pointed it at officers. an officer fired and struck the suspect, who was subsequently treated by medical personnel. the suspect was taken into custody and transported to the hospital for treatment. the suspect is currently undergoing surgery, his
condition is unknown at this time. a weapon was recovered on the scene. the congressional complex was locked down and u.s. cp ordered a shelter in place. based on the initial investigation, at approximately 3:40 p.m., the lockdown was lifted and all buildings, except for the cvc, which remains processing for crime scene. the suspect's vehicle. has been located on capitol grounds and will be cleared of hazards and seized pending service of a search warrant. an uninvolved 35 to 45-year-old female bystander also suffered what appeared to be minor injuries and was transported to the hospital. no officers were injured, and it has not been determined as to how many officers fired their weapons. the u.s. capitol police
investigation's division, the capitol police office of professional responsibility, and the metropolitan police are conducting investigations into this matter. i stress that much of this information is still very preliminary. i want to stress that while this is preliminary, based on the initial investigation, we believe that this is an act of a single person, who has frequented the capitol grounds before and there is no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act. as additional information is gained, i'll provide as much as i can through my public information office. i want to assure the american and visiting public that the u.s. capitol police officers continue to protect the capitol and the cvc for all who visit. we expect regular business tomorrow morning at the capitol visitor's center. so people can safely visit the united states capitol and their
member officers. again, this is preliminary investigation. as we get more information, i'll be happy to provide it through our regular pio sources. >> chief, is this suspect known to you, known to the capitol police? >> while we have not -- i have not received confirmation about who the suspect is, we believe that the suspect is known to us. >> and how was he known to you, sir? >> through previous contacts? >> disruptions, sir -- >> the individual who disrupted the house chamber last fall? >> the gentleman from tennessee? >> i can't comment on that right now. >> chief, have charges been filed? >> not at this point. >> chief, there's been a lot of talk about -- >> not at this point. >> chief, there's been a lot of talk about security lately in light of what happened at brussels. this checkpoint at the cvc was designed to identify a threat before it could get into the capitol. did this work the way it was designed today? you satisfied with the response? >> it appears that the screening process works the way it's supposed to. that's correct.
>> again, this is preliminary, and i know you want as much information as i could possibly give you, but without confirming some things, i really don't want to give you bad information. i would rather give you the information when we confirm it. i'll try to provide as much information as i can, so you can certainly get it out to the public. i want to thank you very much. >> the chief shared with us the basics. and very important that we talk about the following point. pete williams was watching and listening with us. the chief wanted it known, this was a single person, known to police. my words, not his. and this was a criminal act. we always try to point out, most police officers in this country retire without having discharged their weapons. police are forced to discharge their weapons, choose to discharge their weapons, every
day. and this was one of those instances. the reason it's been subject to two hours of live news coverage is where it happened. in a town that loves act ronacr this is the cvc, the capitol visitor's center, and this happened among centers of the uscp, the united states capitol police. and because of its proximity, because of the heightened awareness and sensitivity to terrorism, in light of the belgian attacks and others, this got a lot of attention. but as pete williams first reported, you heard some of the questions pertaining to this, this man's file shows us that he is charged with disruption of a session of the house of representatives. pete williams, in the minutes we have left,meet the press daily, clearly the chief didn't want to go on
record with a whole lot else, because he's got a wounded perpetrator undergoing treatment at the hospital, among other things. >> right, but we've been told by federal officials that they have identified this person as larry russell dawson of antioch, dn, 67 years old, who was under orders to stay away from the capitol. he had actually been mailed this map, by the court, with a line drawn well around the senate and house office buildings. this is the capitol in the center here. and you can see that this was the perimeter of this order, telling him, this is what they call a stay away order. this was mailed to him after he was arrested in october for interrupting a session of the house. he was yelling that he was a prophet of god. he was charged with disrupting the house and he was also charged with interfering with police officers and the court documents filed at the time said when they went to arrest him, he pushed the police officers away. he was charged with assault, as
well. these are local charges filed in superior court here in washington, d.c., not in the main federal court. but he was facing these charges. none of them involved a firearm. so one of the questions here is, of course, going to be, where and how did he get the weapon? did he have it all along? why did he come back? all of those questions to be answered. but these days, when a person like the capitol police chief says it's a criminal act what that means is, that's code for, this is not considered to be an act of terrorism. >> and that should be our headline. we have devoted a lot of live programming time to this. because had it been something else, this really would have given us cause for concern, happening, as it did, not only on the u.s. capitol grounds, but at the kind of underground funnel-like entrance to the first rung of security going into the capitol visitor's center. a brand-new, underground
complex, designed to do just this. and that is defend the building and its inhabitants, especially elected members of the senate and house, from people who could cause harm. in this case, it's alleged a man whose file pete just read from, from antioch, tennessee, which i suppose can be considered a far off suburb of nashville, it's to the south and east of nashville, this man from antioch, tennessee, identified as larry russell dawson, he has been wounded and is undertreatment at the washington hospital center. another subject received what the chief referred to as minor wounds and was also transported. none of them appear to be life threatening. but the first reports that a police officer had been hit, thankfully not true.
but again, going off pete williams' reporting, this subject was known to u.s. capitol police, and to the extent that they sent him a map of no-go zones on capitol hill. we want to let you know, we are going to take a break and on the other side, steve kornacki will begin hosting today's edition, this monday after easter edition of "meet the press daily." so for all of us covering this live breaking news event, our programming will continue at the top of the hour. so when your symptoms start... ...doctors recommend taking non-drowsy claritin every day of your allergy season for continuous relief. with claritin you get powerful, non-drowsy relief 24 hours a day, day after day. and with fewer symptoms to distract you... you can focus on the extraordinary things you do every single day. live claritin clear. every day.
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