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Cops Hurt in U.S. Capitol Shooting

July 24, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two police officers were injured in a shooting inside the Capitol late this afternoon and a suspect was apprehended, police said. The suspect also was wounded, they said.

Federal law enforcement agencies and emergency vehicles rushed to the area.

Tourists and visitors were being ushered out the Capitol, and authorities strung crime scene tape around an entrance on the Capitol Plaza side of the building.

An ambulance was on the scene on the east side of the Capitol. House offices were sealed.

Mara Cleary, a legislative aide to Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., said she was giving a tour to a family from Washington and a child from Belfast, Ireland, when ``about three shots″ rang out. ``People just started running,″ she said. The child ``flipped out″ when the shots went off. ``We were trying to isolate her from that kind of thing,″ the aide said, referring to violence in Ireland.

Proceedings continued as scheduled on the House floor.

Capitol Police Officer Vito Raymond said, ``We have two officers injured. I can confirm there was a shooting.″

Raymond provided no other details of the incident, which occurred on a busy day on which the building filled with summertime tourists.

Capitol police wouldn’t let anyone off the first floor. All hallways and stairways were blocked off and elevators were shut down.

FBI spokeswoman Susan Lloyd said the wounded officers were members of the Capitol Police. She said agents believed there was only one suspect in the incident, who also was wounded.

Security at the Capitol was increased after a bomb exploded in 1983. However, Congress shelved a plan to erect a wrought-iron security fence around the Capitol grounds and establish checkpoints at the perimeter, instead putting its hope of foiling a terrorist attack largely on a traffic maze of giant concrete flower pots.

Today, most people who enter the Capitol building, as well as the congressional office buildings nearby, must go through metal detectors and have their belongings checked, either by hand or by X-ray machine. Those exempted from such checks are members of Congress.

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