Fri October 4, 2013
WNY Congressman describes being locked down at Capitol
Western New York Congressman Chris Collins and two of his staff members quickly moved into lockdown mode at his Capitol Hill office Thursday afternoon.
It was just before 2:30 p.m. when warning sounded throughout the Capitol to take cover.
Collins tells WBFO News he was entering his office at that moment.
"We got notification to 'shelter in place'. We have walkie-talkies, that rarely go off, but this time they did," said Congressman Collins. "I had just walked into our office building when that occurred. We certainly felt safe."
But they were told to locked the doors and stay away from windows, while outside the Capitol police and security were scrambling and there were sounds of gun fire. The incident began near the White House. Witnesses and officials said a woman with a young child in her car tried to ram through a White House Barricade. The woman then led police on a car chase. It ended when the car crashed outside the Capitol.
A witness said police saw officers firing shots. A female suspect was shot and died. Police said the shooting was an isolated incident, not terrorism. The woman has been identified as 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Connecticut. Her mother said her daughter was "depressed" and suffered from post-partum depression. But the mother tells ABC News her daughter had``no history of violence.'' The child was not harmed.
Congressman Collins said there are only two staff members with him in Washington this week because of the government shutdown.
"That 'shelter in place' lasted maybe a little over a half-hour, 40-minutes, and then we got the same indication that the situation was stabilized," said Collins. "I have not, in the nine months I have been here, had a situation to 'shelter in place'."
Meanwhile, Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins had already left the Hill with one staff member prior to the lockdown. The remainder of his Washington staff was safe inside at his office inside the Rayburn House Office Building.