Capitol Hill Shooting Hits D.C. Prior to Nuclear Security Summit

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Photo/The Daily Beast

By Gloria Adeyeye

The Nuclear Security Summit commences today, and while U.S. Secretary John Kerry and Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama as well as the Minister of Defense Mansur Dan Ali were in bilateral foreign affairs talks on Wednesday. Today discussions between President Barack Obama, President Muhammadu Buhari, and other world leaders will begin on how to combat nuclear warfare, and keep their respective nations secure.

However, it is plausible that the well planned Summit could have been much more cumbersome to manage after Monday’s Capital Hill shooting. On a Monday afternoon, at 2:39 p.m. the U.S. Capitol Hill Police shot a Tennessee man, Larry Russell Dawson, 66, at the Visitor Center when he pulled out what looked like a weapon.

The incident started while the suspect was being screened at the North Screening Capitol Visitor Center entrance, when he beeped he was stopped and that was when he pulled out what appeared to be a weapon (later recovered at the scene).

Capitol Hill was briefly put under lock down which was lifted at 3: 40 p.m. with the exception of the CVC. The suspect’s car was cleared of dangerous weapons and Dawson is currently in stable condition after undergoing surgery. A female bystander not connected to Dawson sustained minor injuries and was also taken to the hospital, but there were no injuries recorded for the staff of the Capitol Hill Police.

This apparently was not the first time, Washington D.C. a hub for Nigerians, has seen such a scare. Apparently, a similar situation with Dawson occurred in October of 2015 in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, when he stated that he was a “prophet of God”.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said that Dawson faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. Once released from the hospital he will appear before the District of Columbia Superior Court. The investigation is ongoing and preliminary but has been confirmed as the act of a single person.

Lock down protocol for the White House happened immediately. The District of Columbia Police and Fire Department were at the Visitors Center immediately, all working together to protect the citizens of the United States and tourists from around the world that were there on visit. This also happened to be spring break week which made matters more complex.

Matthew Verderosa reassured the people that “the Capitol Hill Police continues to protect the people that not only work on the Hill but to protect the visitors from all over the world who travel each year to see it’’.

An underlying theme of all the shootings that occurred on Capitol Hill as far back as 1998, with Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. and 2013 with Miriam Carey seems to be some form of mental illness, as Dawson goes before the District Court, maybe some light will be shed on this.