Lawmakers Honor Slain Officers

Three days after a gunman stormed the Capitol building, lawmaking took a back seat to remembering the two officers who gave their lives protecting the majestic building and the people who work and visit there.

In an emotional speech before the House, Rep. Tom DeLay said: "They died saving lives. They died doing their duty. These men died defending the Capitol of the United States of America, the symbol of freedom across this world."

Capitol Police officers Jacob Chestnut, 58, and John Gibson, 42, died Friday after a gun battle with Russell E. Weston Jr., 41 of Rimini, Mont. Capitol Police Chief Gary Abrecht called the two officers "fallen heroes."
Officer John Gibson (AP)Officer Jacob Chestnut (AP)

House and senate members will spend much of Monday and Tuesday honoring the officers, reports CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

The House began work Monday afternoon on a resolution to formally allow the use of the Capitol rotunda for a public viewing of the slain officers' coffins, to install a plaque in honor of the two men, and to pay for their funeral expenses. Only 25 other people have been honored with a rotunda ceremony. Click here for more on honors.

The two officers were shot to death Friday, after Weston, allegedly ran through a metal detector and started firing a handgun. Another woman, tourist Angela Dickerson, 24, was wounded and released from the hospital Saturday. Click here for a chronology of events.


Weston's ID Card (AP)
Weston, who authorities say has a history of mental illness, suffered gunshot wounds himself, and remains in serious condition at a Washington hospital. He was to have a hearing in absentia Monday in U.S. District Court on charges of killing a federal law-enforcement officer. The case was being transferred from a District of Columbia court, where papers had been filed Saturday charging him in the deaths of the two 18-year veterans of the Capitol force. Click here to find out more about the alleged gunman.


The incident is raising new questions about security at the home of the U.S. Congress, where visitors are less restricted than at other Federal buildings, according to CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr..

The shooting has brought urgent calls for more to be done. One proposal: Create a larger safety buffer around the Capitol by moving metal detectors from inside the building to an outside perimeter. Click here to read more about security.

"They should be outside the building, so that if someone does have a weapon and that weapon is found, it is going to be contained in an area," according to security expert Ira Lipman.


Retractable shield at Capitol. (CBS)
Already, vehicles are kept away by large concrete planters and retractable shields, installed after a bomb exploded in a Senate hallway in 1983.

But most lawmakers are hesitant to make things so secure that people are kept away.

"We don't want it to be closed, and we won't close it," Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., said. "We just need to make sure we review the security and that it will be safe for visitors and people who work in the Capitol."

Commenting on the shooting, President Clinton said, "We must keep [the Capitol] a place where people can freely and proudly walk the halls of our government." Click here to read the President's remarks.


Proposed visitors center at Capitol.(CBS)
One solution gaining support: A $125-million, underground visitor center, first proposed in 1991 and rejected by Congress as too expensive. The center would be built under the East Front Plaza and serve as a solitary screening point.

The immediate concern at the Capitol, however, is for the two police officers killed in Friday's shootings. After being honored in Washington, Gibson will be laid to rest at a funeral service Thursday in Lakeridge, Va. Chestnut, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington on Friday.

Notes of condolence and contributions to a memorial fund for John Gibson and Jacob J. Chestnut can be sent to: U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20515.