A pastor from Tennessee who pulled a gun at a US Capitol checkpoint was gunned down by the Capitol Police on Monday. The incident comes after he was banned from entering the building last year when he disrupted the Congress by yelling that he was a “prophet of God.”
Larry Russell Dawson was shot after he pulled the weapon that was identified by the metal detectors. After he was shot, he was transported to the hospital where he is in a “stable but critical condition.” A female bystander was also wounded in the incident after she was struck by shrapnel.
The US Capitol was placed under lockdown for about an hour. The White House was also locked down. The authorities said that Dawson has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed, as reported by The Washington Post.
According to court documents, he was given a “stay away order” by DC Superior Court in October last year. He was taken into custody in the US Capitol after he disrupted the Congress by yelling “I am a Prophet of God.” As a result of the order, he was banned from entering the US Capitol building, grounds and Congressional buildings, NBC Washington reported.
Speaking about Monday’s incident, Capitol Chief of Police Matthew R. Verderosa said, “We do believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before and there is no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act.” While reports emerged that a police officer was also wounded, they were later proved false.
Witness Cathryn Leff was in town to lobby with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She said she was asked by the police to leave when she was going through security at the Capitol Visitors Center, Dallas Morning News reported. “I heard what sounded like two shots off to my left,” she said. “I felt like I was in a movie. It didn’t feel real at all, she added.
Amanda Smith heard on the police’s radio about shots that were fired when she and her family were in the Senate visitors’ gallery. “Sure, we were worried,” she said. “But there were lots of kids around so we didn’t make too big a deal of it.”