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UPDATED: Gunfire forces brief lockdown at U.S. Capitol

Rescue personnel evacuate a person from a crashed vehicle following a shooting near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 3, 2012. The Capitol was in lockdown on Thursday after gunshots were fired outside the building, injuring several people including a law enforcement officer, a Senate aide and a Capitol police officer said. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. Capitol was locked down briefly on Thursday after gunshots were fired outside the building and a number of people including a law enforcement officer were hurt, a Senate aide and a Capitol police officer said.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were in session when the gunshots were heard. The U.S. government was partially shut down this week when lawmakers failed to agree on a budget.

The shooting rattled the U.S. capital three weeks after 12 people were killed and three injured in a shooting spree by a government technology contractor at the U.S. Navy Yard, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Capitol.

CNN reported that police chased a car from near the White House to the Capitol and the shots were fired when the driver tried to flee.

The shots were fired near the Hart Senate Office Building at 2nd Street and Constitution Avenue Northeast, only a few blocks from the U.S. Supreme Court, police said.

An injured policeman was taken from the scene in a Medevac helicopter, police said.

The lockdown order at the Capitol was called off and security along Independence Avenue was eased shortly before 3 p.m. (1900 GMT). Tourists were allowed back onto the Capitol Grounds.

In 1998, a gunman burst through a security checkpoint at the Capitol and killed two Capitol Police officers in an exchange of fire that sent tourists and other bystanders diving for cover. The suspect, Russell Eugene Weston Jr., was not charged with a crime because of apparent mental instability.


WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - A woman suspected of being involved in a car chase across central Washington was shot and killed by police outside the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday, a U.S. official said.

The incident, which sparked a lockdown of Congress, began when the woman tried to ram through security barricades outside the White House.

The official said a Capitol policeman was injured when the car driven by the suspect crashed outside the Capitol.