United Church of Christ staff members in the Justice and Witness Ministries office in Washington, D.C., are safe after a shooting on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Oct. 3. The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries, said D.C. office staff members were in a locked-down area, but obviously shaken.
News outlets reported that there was an attempt to ram the gates at the White House around 2 p.m., followed by shots fired near the U.S. Capitol building. One female suspect is dead, and a Capitol police officer was reportedly shot. The Capitol building and Pennsylvania Avenue were closed, but information beyond that is unknown at this point.
The national officers of the church issued a brief statement:
"We have just learned of the tragic shootings directly across from the U.S. Capitol building a few minutes ago. With many of our faith partners, the United Church of Christ Washington, D.C., policy advocacy office is located in the Methodist building, adjacent to U.S. Supreme Court and quite near the Capitol. In the midst of these very unsettling times in Washington, D.C., this incident adds more tension and anxiety to the situation. We have received word that our staff members are shaken, but safe as the building is locked down. They will receive word soon about evacuation plans. Please keep all our brothers and sisters in Washington, D.C., in your thoughts and prayers today and in the days to come as we experience yet another random act of violence in our midst."
UPDATE: At 3:55 p.m., the UCC headquarters in Cleveland received word that the lockdown was lifted and D.C. staff members were safely evacuated from the area.