Capitol Remains 'The People's Building'

As the Capitol's flags flew at half-staff in mourning, President Clinton Saturday called a gunman's spree at the national landmark "a moment of savagery at the front door of American civilization."

The president, in remarks at Andrews Air Force base before leaving on a trip to Norfolk, Virginia, praised the two police officers who died in Friday's dramatic shootout and those who rushed to help. Click here to read the President's remarks.

"In this one heartless act, there were many acts of heroism,", Mr. Clinton said.

With a tear running down his right cheek, House Speaker Newt Gingrich bowed his head in prayer during the Republicans' weekly radio address and said: "Please help this country learn to live with its freedom. Please help those who are troubled learn to live peacefully with their problems."

Two police officers were killed Friday in a Capitol Hill shootout with a gunman, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart. A woman and the suspected gunman were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

It was a day that began routinely, with the Capitol filled with tourists and Congress in session, and ended in violence. Click here for a chronology of events.

The suspect was arrested in House Majority Whip Tom DeLay's office, but the Congressman was unharmed.

DeLay's office issued a statement of gratitude to the slain officers, identified as John Gibson, who served on the force for eight years, and Jacob Chestnut, an 18-year veteran of the force. Both men were married; each had three children.

The suspect was identified as Russell Eugene Weston, 42, formerly of Vallmire, Illinois, now of Missoula, Montana. He is listed in critical condition and doctors say he has a "50-50 chance" of survival. Weston was charged with killing a federal officer while the officer was performing official duties. He is scheduled to be arraigned in absentia in Washington. Additional charges are pending. He was already had a Secret Service file for threatening the president.

The Miami Herald Saturday reported Weston was last seen Thursday at his family's home in Valmeyer, Illinois. The paper reports that used a shotgun to kill more than a dozen cats there and then had an argument with his father.

The gunman thwarted tightened security to get into the building. Click here for details.


Senator Bill Frist, R-Tenn.(AP)

The injured woman was identified as Angela Dickerson, 24. She suffered facial and shoulder wounds and was ruhed to the hospital. She was released from the hospital Saturday.

Flags were lowered to half-staff shortly after the shooting.

President Clinton, who was at Camp David, Md., issued a statement saying he was "deeply disturbed" by the bloodshed at "the people's house, a place where visitors and workers should not have to fear violence."

House Speaker Newt Gingrich also released a statement.

"The officers who were killed and those who apprehended the gunman are true heroes of democracy and every American owes them a deep debt of gratitude," he said.

Gingrich spoke with Gibson's and Chestnut's families and planned to visit them to express his condolences, said an aide.

An aide to Rep. DeLay spoke of a heroic effort by a Capitol police officer to stop the gunman.

Republican U.S. Sen. William Frist, of Tennessee, who is a physician, helped treat the gunshot victims after the shootings, The Associated Press reported.

Click here for more about House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, U.S. Sen. William Frist, and others involved in the tragedy at the Capitol.)


Helicopter rushes victim to hospital.(CBS)
"The gunman came into our office and started firing," said John Feehery, a spokesman for DeLay. Feehery said he heard about 20 shots.

Feehery said a police officer assigned to protect the office of DeLay, who is the House Republican whip, "did a great job .... in stopping the perpetrator."

FBI Officials told Jim Stewart that the shots are believed to have been fired by a lone gunman armed with a handgun.

Tourists and visitors were ushered out the Capitol, and authorities strung crime scene tape around an entrance on the Capitol Plaza side of the building.

Proceedings continued as scheduled on the House floor.

Capitol police wouldn't let anyone off the first floor. All hallways and stairways were blocked off and elevators were shut down.

The Capitol has a dark history of violence. Click here for a chronology.

Security at the Capitol was increased after a bomb exploded in 1983. However, Congress shelved a plan to erect a wrought-iron security fence around the Capitol grounds and establish checkpoints at the perimeter, instead putting its hope of foiling a terrorist attack largely on a traffic maze of giant concrete flower pots.

Today, most people who enter the Capitol building, as well as the congressional office buildings nearby, must go through metal detectors and have their belongings checked, either by hand or by X-ray machine. Those exempted from such checks are members of Congress.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report