Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, on Friday expressed hope that the “unfortunate” violent incident that shook Capitol Hill on Thursday might bring lawmakers unity and help them reach a deal to end the government shutdown.
“I've been advocating an end [to the shutdown] as soon as possible anyway,” Farenthold told CNN on Thursday afternoon. “It's unfortunate that this has happened, but maybe some good will come out of it.”
The Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after reports of gunfire, causing lawmakers and staff to rush to shelter and sending law enforcement swarming to the Hill.
Farenthold said the incident shook him, considering the intense partisan divisions on day three of the government shutdown. Other lawmakers said they were on edge after Capitol Police confronted them as they left the Capitol building for their offices after a vote.
“Capitol Hill police are at a lower level during the shutdown, and my office is getting more emotional calls and I was really concerned that this might be related to something that is going on with the government, but the reports I'm seeing suggest differently,” Farenthold said.
The Capitol went into lockdown at 2:24 p.m. as police over loudspeakers encouraged people to seek shelter. Unconfirmed reports said that Capitol Police stopped an erratic driver in a black sedan with gunfire. The sedan, driven by a woman, hit a police car, wounding an officer who was taken to the hospital with non-fatal injuries.
Police lifted the lockdown at roughly 3 p.m. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters he considered it an isolated incident and not terrorism-related.