Police placed the U.S. Capitol on lockdown "as a precautionary measure" after an apparent suicide shooting near the building's West Front on Saturday. In their initial statement, authorities said only that the suspected shooter had been "neutralized."
Just witnessed someone shoot themselves at the U.S. Capitol.. Whole place is on lockdown😳😳— David Ingham (@dodobird96) April 11, 2015
BREAKING: Someone just shot themself on the steps of the US Capitol during the height of Cherry Blossom festival. Capitol is on lockdown.— Tom Risen (@TomRisen) April 11, 2015
Additionally, police are reportedly investigating a "potential explosive device" found at the scene. According to NBC News reporter Pete Williams, the suspected gunman shot and killed himself and the suspicious package is the man's briefcase.
BREAKING: One man is dead and the US Capitol is on lockdown after shots were fired. Potential explosive device found. pic.twitter.com/XtcDzfvZ2V— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) April 11, 2015
UPDATE 2:40 p.m.: Officials speaking to NBC News have confirmed that the shooting appears to be a suicide and the suspicious package is the gunman's suitcase. One federal official told the network "there are no indications at this point of terrorism."
UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: In addition to the suitcase found nearby, ABC News reports that the shooter was wearing a backpack and had a sign taped to one of his hands. A bomb disposal team is reportedly preparing to investigate the suitcase.
Just saw a young man fall down shot at the Capitol building . Not sure if he shot himself or was shot! Place is shut down!— Ramesh Nandi (@rbnandi) April 11, 2015
He held up a sign that said tax the other 1/4 or something like that. Just before he fell down.— Ramesh Nandi (@rbnandi) April 11, 2015
UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: At a press conference Saturday afternoon, Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said today's incident had no connection with terrorism and that the suspect's sign had a "social justice" message.
USCP Chief Kim Dine says man who shot & killed himself at the Capitol had a "social justice" sign but did not elaborate what the sign said.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 11, 2015
[Image via Shutterstock]