Wisconsin lawmakers in Washington were safe after an incident near the U.S. Capitol building.
Police say a woman tried to ram a White House barricade with her car Thursday afternoon, then led police on a chase. It ended outside the U.S. Capitol where shots were fired, according to police and witnesses. The woman was killed by police.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin spoke to Newsline 9 about how her staff handled the situation.
"We took a quick census of making sure that everybody who reported in today was safe and were all together during the lockdown, and trying to monitor as best we could what was happening until the lockdown was suspended at the end," said Baldwin.
Baldwin said everyone in her office was safe and accounted for, but that she still felt "a lot of concern, especially for the people who had never experienced anything like this before, you know, young staffers and interns on Capitol Hill, visitors on Capitol Hill who are obviously quite frightened by this."
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson also described the afternoon's events from his perspective.
"There were some tense moments there, as thoughts went through our mind, being so close in time to the Navy Yard shooting, that at some point that could be occurring," he told Newsline 9.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-7th District) was conducting a telephone town hall in another building near the Capitol when the situation unfolded, said spokeswoman Cassie Smedile.
"He stayed there when the shelter in place directive went out," said Smedile. "The entire office, including the Congressman, was quickly accounted for."
Rep. Ron Kind (D-3rd District), who was also safe, issued a statement saying, "I understand that an officer was injured at the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are with that officer as are our hopes for a full recovery. All of us here are grateful to the Capitol Police and their partners in law enforcement who put their lives at risk everyday to keep us safe."
This incident happened on the third day of the federal government shutdown. Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over funding the government and the new health care reform law. Yet Thursday's event brought about at least some level of unity. The House of Representatives gave a bipartisan standing ovation to Capitol Police officers who responded to the incident.
"They put their lives at risk and we see that today, and their response time was exceptional here today," said Sen. Johnson.
So, can this sobering event help lawmakers come together and reach a compromise?
"I'm not sure this event does," said Johnson. "What's going to lead to a solution is cooler heads prevail and we get people from both sides willing to sit down and talk with each other and actually start negotiating, and it has to start with the acknowledgement of our problem, and that just isn't occurring here in Washington."
Sen. Baldwin said both sides coming together as a result of Thursday's events would be a positive development.
"It's hard to speculate about how something like today's tragedy and incidents will impact that, but I certainly hope that it will help remind people of why they do what they do and why they're here," she said.