Police shot Larry Russel Dawson, 66, at an entrance of the US Capitol visitor centre. A woman bystander sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the incident.

Dawson and the woman were taken to a nearby hospital where Dawson's condition was said to be unknown.

As a result of the shooting, the US Capitol was locked down. The House and the Senate were in recess. For a brief period, there was panic at the US Capitol. Staffers were asked by the police to stay-in-place order while tourists in the area were told to flee.

"We believe that this is the act of a single person that has frequented the Capitol grounds before. There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act," US Capitol Police chief Matthew Verderosa told reporters.

Shortly before 2:40 PM today, an armed individual attempted to enter the Capitol Visitor Centre security screening facility, the US Capitol Police Board said in a statement to Congressional community.

Security in and around the US Capitol has been increased.

"Today, we are reminded of the courage and daily sacrifice of the US Capitol Police. The Capitol is our greatest symbol of democracy, and these officers serve to protect not just those who work there but also the millions of visitors from all around the world who travel each year to see it," said Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

The House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer thanked the Capitol Police for their quick response to the threat.

"The men and women of the US Capitol Police do an extraordinary job protecting our nation's lawmakers, Congressional staff and all those coming to visit their Representatives. Because of their skill and professionalism, the seat of our democracy can remain safely open and accessible to those it serves," Hoyer said.

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