Suspected gunman charged after chaos at US Capitol

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Capitol Hill Shooting Suspect in Custody

There was chaos in the U.S. Capitol Complex on Monday when police shot and wounded a suspected gunman in the visitors center.

The entire complex was immediately locked down as police raced inside and terrified tourists ran for cover.

"Police appeared out of everywhere and they were screaming, 'Run for it! Run for it! Run up that ramp!'" said witness Jill Epstein.

The shooting occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. after the man set off an alarm while going through a metal detector and "drew what appeared to be a weapon and pointed it at a police officer," Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said.

The gunman was immediately shot by a police officer, Verderosa said. He was undergoing surgery and his condition was not known, the chief added.

"We believe this is the act of a single person who has frequented the grounds of the Capitol before," Verderosa said.

The suspect was later identified as 66-year-old Larry Russell Dawson, from Antioch, Tenn. Sources said he had a realistic looking pistol-type pellet gun.

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Suspected gunman charged after chaos at US Capitol
Police direct tourists away from the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol, after a shooting at the Capitol Visitors Center, in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
U.S. Capitol Chief of Police Matthew Verderosa briefs the media on a shooting incident at the Capitol Visitors Center, in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
A U.S. Capitol police officer guards the perimeter on Independence Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol Building as visitors are evacuated after a shooting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ambulances and other emergency vehicles gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building after a shooting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington March 28, 2016. A suspect was reportedly shot and captured on Monday in the U.S. Capitol complex. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police block the area around U.S. Capitol building after a shooting at the Capitol Visitor Center complex in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Police block the area around U.S. Capitol building after a shooting at the Capitol Visitor Center complex in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Ambulances are parked in front of the U.S. Capitol Building after a shooting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police block the area around U.S. Capitol building after a shooting at the Capitol Visitor Center complex in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A U.S. Capitol police officer guards the perimeter in front of the U.S. Capitol Building after a shooting at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Capitol Hill Police Chief Matthew Verderosa briefs reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. Capitol Police officers say a man was shot by police after drawing a weapon at a U.S. Capitol checkpoint. He was taken to the hospital. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Police respond to a shooting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 28, 2016. A suspected gunman was in custody March 28 after a shooting incident at the US Capitol visitors center which led to a brief lockdown of the buildings housing Congress, police said. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement and rescue vehicle are seen on a street leading to Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after reports of gunfire at the Capitol Visitor Center complex. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 28 - A Capitol Visitor Center employee helps tourists evacuate the U.S. Capitol after reports of shots fired occurred in the Capitol Visitor Center, in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Law Enforcement and rescue vehicles are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after a U.S. Capitol Police officer was shot at the Capitol Visitor Center complex, and the shooter was taken into custody. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People evacuate the US Capitol complex in Washington, DC March 28, 2016 after reports of shots fired. The US Capitol was on lockdown March 28 after shots were apparently fired in the Capitol Visitors Center, police said, but local media said the gunman was injured and taken into custody. / AFP / Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: A U.S. Capitol Police officer stands guard during a lock down after shots were reportedly fired at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center March 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. A gunman was reportedly captured and a police officer shot at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A US Secret Service agent stands guard at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 28, 2016. The US Capitol and the White House were put on lockdown March 28 after reports of shots fired at the Capitol Visitors Center, where tourists gather to take tours, witnesses said. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secret Service agents stands guard at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 28, 2016. The US Capitol and the White House were put on lockdown March 28 after reports of shots fired at the Capitol Visitors Center, where tourists gather to take tours, witnesses said. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Law Enforcement and rescue vehicles are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after reports of gunfire at the Capitol Visitor Center complex. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A Secret Service Uniformed Division Officer holds his weapon by a guard booth by the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after reports of an active shooter at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Members of the uniformed Secret Service stands at "heightened awareness" on the North Lawn of the the White House in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after a U.S. Capitol Police officer was shot Monday, March 28, 2016, at the Capitol Visitor Center complex, and the shooter was taken into custody. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A member of the uniformed Secret Service walks near the press briefing room and the North Lawn of the the White House in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016, after a U.S. Capitol Police officer was shot Monday at the Capitol Visitor Center complex, and the shooter was taken into custody. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 28: Capitol Police officers secure the corner of Maryland Avenue and 2nd St., NE, after authorities responded to shots fired in the Capitol Visitor Center, March 28, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 28: A Capitol Police officer secures the corner of East Capitol and 2nd Sts., after authorities responded to shots fired in the Capitol Visitor Center, March 28, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tourists are directed by Capitol Police away from the Capitol at Constitution Ave. and Delaware Ave. in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. A gunman was taken into custody after firing shots in the U.S. Capitol complex on Monday, Capitol officials said, and visitors and staff were shut in their offices and told to âshelter in place.â (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Not good
Per USCP, shelter in place has been lifted and the Capitol is open for official business only. Capitol Visitor Center remains closed. #alert
There has been an isolated incident at the US Capitol. There is no active threat to the public
#Capitol on lock down https://t.co/HKXQonJ7HB
That moment when it goes down ..everyone is screaming & running and you can't see where the #ShotsFired are from https://t.co/ihfc01nmlt
Lots of ambulances are racing to the US Capitol, staging near the Capitol Visitors Ctr. We are sheltering in place. https://t.co/RKMe4jp0M0
The view from inside the Capitol at police activity on the plaza https://t.co/OFmYK92cWn
Heavy police and fire response to a reported shooting in the Capitol. Helicopters now too. #Capitolshooting https://t.co/3y19CxlxQD
Ambulance racing up 2nd St., maybe to Capitol, or not. Also, can't see it here, but Constitution Ave.'s blocked off. https://t.co/Vm9J0QeTNd
Tourists spilling out of west side of Capitol. One said he was in Cap. crypt on your & held there til cleared @wusa9 https://t.co/rqz1brIcsE
My staff are all safe and accounted for. Thanks to U.S. Capitol Police for protecting Capitol employees and visitors.
Just spoke with my DC staff, they are all safe and accounted for. Thank you to @CapitolPolice for keeping them and Captiol visitors safe
My staff is safe and accounted for in Washington. The Capitol complex remains in lockdown.
Cop on street tells me situation is contained, shooter is down. One other lady was shot at Capitol
An ambulance just departed US Capitol w/ sirens on followed by a police car heading down Constitution Ave. Capitol complex still on lockdown
Police telling people to RUN away from Capital. Reports of active shooter at entrance.
Hi can hear police radios. Hearing "We have the shooter." Capitol shooter reported.
Was at the #Visitor's Center...shots heard while going through #security it was a scramble...#Capitol #Evacuated after hiding behind wall
NEWS - The Capitol complex has been locked down “due to a potential security threat."
US Capitol Police source tells me shooting at visitor center - and "shooter is down." @wusa9
BREAKING: U.S. Capitol Complex on lockdown due to a potential security threat. https://t.co/SuTtrCivj5
Police telling tourists to run away. Something happening outside US Capitol. Reports of shots fired Shelter in place order issued
Gunshots reported in the Capitol Visitors Center, we hear over the loudspeaker. Shelter in place, we're told.
Report of shots fired outside capitol. In lockdown.
Hearing the multiple injuries.
Everyone being evacuated off east front plaza. Just sprinted into Cannon #Capitol https://t.co/zdXDhH2IGk
Reports of shots fired at Capitol CVC. I'm at the office. In lockdown. Will keep you posted if I hear anything.
Really hard to tell what's actually happening at the Capitol right now, even by breaking news standards
The drill was earlier this am. Senate staff has been informed this is NOT a drill. https://t.co/NcqKyp5zlf
We are sheltering in place in Hart SOB, waiting for more info on possible shooting at Capitol Visitor Center https://t.co/Y7cFaV9r5i
"I'm in the basement of the White House now" - @CNN producer @Kevinliptakcnn reporting via phone amid lockdown https://t.co/uDMpu2CW73
https://t.co/D7vU2lPglr
Breaking: Washington DC - Pennsylvania Avenue evacuated by secret service.
Bad picture but this is rapper @TheRealSilento being escorted off the WH grounds. He was supposed to perform this hr https://t.co/Yygh54hqAj
Like an exodus. Tourists being allowed to leave Capitol complex after shooting https://t.co/XJwZfnHL3F
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Late Monday, police announced that Dawson was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. He was listed in stable but critical condition and will be arraigned when he is released, the Capitol Police said in a statement.

In October, Dawson was charged with disrupting a proceeding of the House of Representatives after he shouted about being a "prophet of God," sources told NBC News. He is also believed to have a history of mental health issues, the sources said.

Tennessee licensing records indicate Dawson is a former funeral director and embalmer.

Verderosa said a female bystander between the ages of 35 and 45 was also injured. He did not say how or what her condition was. Nor did he identify her.

The lockdown was lifted at 3:40 p.m and the "suspect's vehicle has been located on Capitol Grounds and will be cleared of all hazards and seized," the Capitol Police said in a statement.

Congress is currently in recess so lawmakers were never in any danger.

Epstein, executive director of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, said she wandered over to the visitors center to "kill time" before a scheduled meeting with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, when all hell broke loose.

"As we were literally going through the metal detectors, people started screaming, 'Get out! Get out!'" she said. "We didn't know which way to run. We ran out and they told us to get against the wall, so we were crouching against the wall outside the visitors center."

Epstein said the was struck by the jarring contrast between the chaos in the visitors center and the city outside.

"It was surreal," she said. "It was so beautiful out and the cherry blossoms are in bloom and people are running for their lives."

Ashley Rogers, 29, of Virginia, said she and her family were about to enter the tunnel to the visitors center when they saw a female police officer rush past with her hand on her weapon.

"We were like, 'Oh no'," she said. "And that's when police came out of every corridor. They were swarming the place and heading in the same direction she was and telling us to get out of the building."

Rogers said she, her husband McKay, and his mother, quickly scooped up their kids — Eva, 3, and Gabriel, 6 — and fled to the cafeteria beneath the Longworth Building.

"There were lots of kids who were in there and who were crying and scared," she said.

Each year, an estimated three to five million from around the world visit the complex.

"Today we are reminded of the courage and daily sacrifice of the United States Capitol Police," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said in a statement. "This evening our thoughts and prayers are with all those who faced danger today."

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