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Washington - The US Capitol was locked down briefly on Thursday after gunshots were fired outside the building and a number of people including a law enforcement officer were hurt, a Senate aide and a Capitol police officer said.
The US House of Representatives and Senate were in session when the gunshots were heard. The US government was partially shut down this week when lawmakers failed to agree on a budget.
The shooting rattled the US capital three weeks after 12 people were killed and three injured in a shooting spree by a government technology contractor at the US Navy Yard, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Capitol.
CNN reported that police chased a car from near the White House to the Capitol and the shots were fired when the driver tried to flee.
The shots were fired near the Hart Senate Office Building at 2nd Street and Constitution Avenue Northeast, only a few blocks from the US Supreme Court, police said.
An injured policeman was taken from the scene in a Medevac helicopter, police said.
The lockdown order at the Capitol was called off and security along Independence Avenue was eased shortly before 3 p.m. (1900 GMT). Tourists were allowed back onto the Capitol Grounds.
In 1998, a gunman burst through a security checkpoint at the Capitol and killed two Capitol Police officers in an exchange of fire that sent tourists and other bystanders diving for cover. The suspect, Russell Eugene Weston Jr., was not charged with a crime because of apparent mental instability.