Congress was in session Thursday when shots were fired near the Capitol. Congressman Raul Ruiz, Congressman Paul Cook and Senator Barbara Boxer were working in their offices when the Capitol went on lockdown. They and their staff are ok, but as you can imagine a little shaken from the day's events.
"I was in my office doing work at my desk, when we heard the alarm go off and the loud speaker which was a surprise for us because it has never gone off before," said Ruiz.
"It's a little bit disconcerting because you don't know what is going on and this day and age you get word that there was a shooting involved," said Cook.
Ruiz and Cook were in the Longworth building on the opposite side of the where the incident took place. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Boxer have offices in the Hart building. Shots were fired just right outside.
We spoke with Senator Boxer's staff on the phone, everyone is fine, but they are still shaken up. Her office said she was in the building when shots were fired
They released this statement:
"I came back from the Democratic caucus lunch, a little early because I wanted to brief my staff on the shutdown situation, before I went off to a press conference in Dirksen on the Environmental Protection Agency, and we were just sitting down and starting to talk and heard these incredibly loud noises outside the window. And we looked at each other because we've never heard sounds like this just in rapid succession: boom, boom, boom, boom. About five or six. And then we knew something terrible had happened, we didn't know if it was bullets or the barricades going up. But we got up and we went over to the staircase we have and we got the young people down who were working upstairs and said 'come down and stand with us' in the stairwell and we stayed away from the windows. It's just extremely unnerving, we didn't know what was going to happen next. And then we went into our conference room which has no windows there and we just put on TV and tried to follow what was happening."
She added, "This was a frightening incident that shows once again how our brave law enforcement community protects all of us every day. I am deeply concerned about the Capitol Police officer who was injured and am praying for his speedy recovery."
"You just have to follow their instructions, let the police do their job, don't get in their way and that is exactly what we did," said Cook.
"9-11, 2001 really sent us a message that we can be vulnerable when we are in these positions, but I never thought it would happen today," said Ruiz.
The shelter in place was lifted fairly quickly and work on a budget deal resumed right away. Congressman Cook said the lockdown gave him an idea on how to get the government back up and running.
"Maybe we ought to follow through on what just happened, lock everybody in here and you don't let them out until we get something resolved," said Cook.
When work resumed on the house floor, the first act of business was to thank Capitol police for their work handling the situation.