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Tennessee Man Charged After Drawing A Gun At U.S. Capitol

Larry Dawson, 66, was in critical condition Monday evening after he was shot by a Capitol police officer who saw him draw a gun at the visitors center, authorities said.

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Updated on

A 66-year-old Tennessee man was in critical, but stable, condition on Monday after Capitol police said he was shot by an officer who saw him draw a gun at the Capitol visitors center.

Alex Brandon / AP

Law Enforcement and rescue vehicles are seen on Capitol Hill after the shooting.

Larry R. Dawson was taken to a hospital following the incident, which put the Capitol on lockdown for about an hour.

Due to police activity, Capitol Police have issued a shelter in place for the Capitol complex. Please stay in your designated area. #alert

He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer after authorities said he drew a gun and pointed it at officers during a security screening, authorities said.

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Officers then shot the suspect. Dawson underwent surgery and remained in a hospital Monday night.

Police also confirmed that a 35 to 45-year-old woman suffered minor injuries during the altercation. She was transported to the hospital.

No officers were hurt during the shooting.

Authorities have "no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act," a Capitol Police official said in a news conference.

Police said they believed Dawson acted alone. He also "frequented the [Capitol] grounds before."

"We believe this suspect is known to us," police said Monday afternoon.

Dawson, a Tennessee pastor, had been arrested after previously disrupting a congressional hearing.

The Capitol lockdown lasted from just before 2 p.m. to about 2:50 p.m., police said.

Per USCP, shelter in place has been lifted and the Capitol is open for official business only. Capitol Visitor Center remains closed. #alert

Some areas of the White House complex also remained closed:

"Due to ongoing law enforcement activities at the U.S. Capitol Building, as a routine precautionary measure, the U. S. Secret Service had temporarily closed the North and South fence lines of the White House Complex," said Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback.

The car is towed. That's a wrap. #CNN #capitolshooting

The man's truck was found on Capitol grounds, and authorities waited for a search warrant to remove it for more investigation.

The Capitol visitor center was reopened to the public Tuesday but authorities put the north screening facility on lockdown shortly after it opened around 8:15 a.m. due to an unattended item, NBC reported.

Visitors were cleared from the area while the U.S. Capitol Police investigated the possible threat. The item was cleared about an hour later.

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Per USCP, Police activity all clear at the Capitol; however traffic cuts remain in effect for police activity @librarycongress #dctraffic

Some witnesses told BuzzFeed News on Monday that they didn't hear shots but fled with the crowd:

Lots of tourists leaving the Capitol. Talked to some who said they didn't hear shots, but saw lots of people running

They were eventually told hill was on lockdown and kept in a room. Some of them were questioned by cap police. Lots of worried parents.

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That moment when it goes down ..everyone is screaming & running and you can't see where the #ShotsFired are from

We are on lock down at the Capitol right now. Gun shots reported at the Capitol Visitors Center.

Twitter barely loading on the Capitol now. Network jam packed. Twitter knows more than staffers at this point.

Just hours before, Capitol police had reportedly conducted a shelter-in-place drill:

From a staffer: text alerts from USCP show how in mere hours, escalation from a shooting drill to an actual threat.

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mike Hayes at mike@buzzfeed.com.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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