Sen. Bob Casey was walking from the Senate side of the Capitol across the grounds toward the Russell Senate office building Thursday afternoon when he heard the noise of multiple speeding automobiles.
"I wonder whose motorcade that is,'' he said as he strolled with his companions, Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jeff Merkely of Oregon. The three Democrats were coming from one of the regular weekly lunches of their caucus where they had been discussing the next moves in the wake of the government shutdown. Motorcades are a frequent site around Capitol Hill so it wasn't immediately apparent that there was anything wrong That changed quickly as they saw Capitol police with guns drawn as they rushed toward the street.
"We heard the shots, several shots,'' Mr. Casey said. "It was so loud and intense.''
"Even after we heard the popping I wasn't sure ... [until] we saw and heard the Capitol Police screaming,'' he said.
Police at first told them to get down behind a car. Mr. Casey said they were there for perhaps three or four minutes when other officers told them to head back to the Capitol Building about 75 yards behind them. They took shelter there until the brief lockdown of the Capitol complex ended.
"I am grateful for the fast action and professionalism of the Capitol Police and my thoughts and prayers are with the officer who was injured in the incident,'' Mr. Casey said in a statement distributed by his office.