A gunman caused the US Capitol to be shut down Monday when he drew a firearm at the Capitol Visitors Center and was shot by US Capitol police, CNN reports. Said to be Tennessee man Larry Russell Dawson, he is now in surgery at the hospital. A female bystander was also wounded by shrapnel but her injuries are described as "minor." Dawson apparently drew his gun and pointed it at officers at around 2:40pm when the visitors center metal detector went off, the Washington Post reports. "We believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before, and there is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act," says US Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa.
Emergency vehicles swarmed the area and police cordoned off the center, where tourist crowds were milling for the Cherry Blossom Festival and spring holidays, the AP reports. Visitors say they heard multiple gunshots and were told by police to take cover behind a wall. As for Dawson, 66, he was arrested last October for allegedly attacking a police officer after making a scene in the House of Representatives, where he "loudly stated to Congress he was a 'prophet of God,'" court papers say. A judge told him to stay off Capitol Grounds and he was ordered to court in November, but didn't show up. "I have been called chosen and sent unto you this day," he wrote in a letter to the court. "I am not under the law! ... Therefore I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself to your office."