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Shots Fired: Sequence Of Events

The events at the U.S. Capitol unfolded with blinding speed this afternoon and evening. At this writing, here is an approximate sequence of events.
  • Friday afternoon, the Capitol is filled with tourists. Congress is in session.
  • At approximately 3:40 p.m. ET, a gunman, later identified by police officials as Russell E. Weston, 42, of Missoula, Montana, enters the Capitol through an entrance on the east side of the first floor. According to police, the gunman is carrying a .38 caliber handgun, which sets off a metal detector at the main security checkpoint. Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut, stationed at the checkpoint, asks the gunman to stop, and is shot. Shots are then fired by both the gunman and by at least one police officer, according to a lawmaker's aide.
  • The gunman runs around a corner, and reaches the office of Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas). After the gunman disregards an order to stop, a Capitol police officer standing by the door of the office opens fire. The officer is identified by Rep. DeLay as Officer John Gibson. The gunman and Gibson exchange shots, wounding each other. "The gunman came into our office and started firing,'' said John Feehery, a spokesman for Rep. DeLay. ``We heard 20 shots.'' Also wounded is a female tourist, identified as Angela Dickerson, 24, who suffers facial and shoulder wounds.
  • In response to the shots, tourists and others inside the Capitol rush out the doors. Many hide behind pillars after the shots began.
  • Moments after the shooting, officers raced through nearby offices, guns drawn, warning aides and others to take cover.
  • Responding to a report of shots fired in the Capitol, law enforcement officers and rescue workers descend en masse to the Capitol building.
  • Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a heart surgeon, is among those who rush to the frantic scene in the Capitol after the shooting. Frist says he came upon two injured people and performed CPR on a man who ``had multiple gunshot wounds.'' Frist accompanies the injured to the hospital.
  • A U.S. Park Service helicopter lands on the east side of the Capitol to take away the wounded. Two of the wounded are brought out to the helicopter. The helicopter takes off. At least one of the wounded is taken to George Washington Hospital, where President Reagan was taken after he was shot in 1981.
  • About an hour after the shooting, officers say they intend to evacuate the building, apparently so they can make a more extensive search.
  • At approximately 6 p.m. ET, officers Chestnut and Gibson die at the hospital. Each man is married, and is the father of three children.
  • Police begin to question Weston while he is handcuffed to a hospital bed at D.C. General Hospital. Reports indicate that he has made threats on President Clinton's life over the past two years, and had been identified by the Secret Service as a "low-level threat."

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