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Police contain shooting on Capitol Hill

A man walked into the US Capitol Visitor Center and was shot and wounded after he pointed what appeared to be a weapon at officers. The White House was briefly put under lockdown following the event.

The US Capitol Police told staff in the Capitol complex to seek cover after reports of gunshots being fired in the Capitol Visitors Center. The situation was apparently limited to the Visitors Center, which is comprised of an underground complex used chiefly by tourists.

The suspect and an injured female bystander were taken to hospital, Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said at a news conference. "During routine administrative screening, the individual drew what appeared to be a weapon and pointed it at officers," he said, adding that the man was known to Capitol Police.

Police did not identify the suspect, who was believed to have acted alone. An official told the Reuters news agency that no evidence had materialized of a connection to terrorism.

"Based on initial investigation, we believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before. There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act," Verderosa said.

The event unfolded with Congress on recess and lawmakers back in their districts for the Easter holiday.

No police officers were seriously injured, according to Verderosa, who added that a weapon was recovered at the scene and that the suspect's vehicle was found on Capitol grounds.

Emergency sirens could be heard across the National Mall - the road which links the White and the Capitol. The two buildings are about 2 miles (3.4 kilometres) apart.

The Secret Service temporarily cleared tourists from an area around the White House.

Repeat incident?

A similar incident had occured at the US Capitol almost a year ago, when the building was placed under lockdown after shots where heard in the area. The man believed to have fired the shots later shot himself.

ss/es (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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