The U.S. Capitol Building was temporarily on lockdown after a man killed himself outside Saturday afternoon, NBC News reported.
A senior federal official said the man killed himself with a single shot, and that he did not have any identification. Police are now looking for the suspect’s car.
The incident took place in a public area around1 p.m. The man, who is not being identified, had a backpack and a roller case with him, which bomb technicians handled as suspicious packages, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said at a press conference.
Dine added that at this time, there seems to be no connection to terrorism. The man did not have any other weapons with him aside from a gun but did have a sign with him about “social justice,” according to the police chief. At this time, the exact language of that sign is unclear.
Police instructed staffers to shelter in place as a precautionary measure, though the shooter had been “neutralized.” The lockdown was lifted just before 4 p.m., but the West Terrace area remains closed until further notice, according to Capitol Police.
A witness at the scene, Ramesh Nandi, said he and his wife were sitting on the steps of the Capitol, facing the Washington Monument when he saw a young man walk up.
“He took out a placard that said something like, ‘Why don’t you tax the 1/4?’ or something like that. ” Nandi said. ” I was trying to read the placard.”
Other witnesses said the sign said something about taxing the 1 percent, a possible reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement’s “We are the 99%” slogan used during protests about the distribution of income and wealth.
Nandi said he heard a pop and saw the back of the man’s head starting to get red.
“I grabbed my wife and said, ‘Run! Run!’ I thought it was a sniper, because I didn’t see a gun in his hand.”
Nandi and his wife hid behind a wall. He said the man did not speak before the incident.