Capitol Shooting: Miriam Carey Incident Not The First Violent Attack; A Rundown Of Shootings And Bombings Over The Years

on October 03 2013 7:43 PM
capitol shooting
The Capitol has been the site of various shootings and bombings over the years. Wikimedia Commons

The car chase that ended in the shooting death of suspect Miriam Carey outside the Capitol on Wednesday is not the first instance of violence in the area. As foreign policy blog Passport points out, there are several examples of shootings and bombings that have occurred throughout the years.

In July 1998, a man named Russell Eugene Weston Jr. entered the Capitol armed with a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson and opened fire, killing two United States Capitol Police officers. Officer Jacob Chestnut was killed first as he caught Weston trying to go around a metal detector near the entrance. After killing Chestnut, Weston ran to a nearby office, where he exchanged fire with Detective John Gibson. Gibson was killed, but he managed to injure Weston in the shootout. Two others were also injured. Weston was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and remains in a mental institution to this day.

In March 1954, four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the visitors’ gallery in the House of Representatives. Some 30 shots were fired. Out of the 240 people on the floor during the shooting, five representatives were wounded, but all survived. All four shooters served time in various U.S. prisons before being pardoned by President Jimmy Carter and sent back to Puerto Rico.

On Nov. 7, 1983, a bomb exploded on the second floor of the Capitol’s north wing at 10:58 p.m. Nobody was killed or injured. According to the Senate website, a portrait of Daniel Webster, situated directly across from where the bomb was concealed underneath a bench, received the brunt of the explosion. Mirrors, chandeliers and furniture were also destroyed. In 1988, authorities arrested six members of a group called Resistance Conspiracy in connection with the Senate bombing, as well as bombings of Fort McNair and the Washington Navy Yard.

In March 1971, a bomb exploded on the ground floor of the Capitol. The bomb was placed there by members of the leftist group Weather Underground in protest of U.S. military involvement in Laos.

In July 1915, Eric Muenter, a German professor at Harvard, set off a bomb in the reception room of the Senate in an effort to sway public opinion against American involvement in World War I. He escaped the scene without being arrested. Soon after, he shot J.P. Morgan Jr. at his home on Long Island in New York. According to the Harvard Crimson, Muenter was arrested and committed suicide in prison.

On Sept. 17, 2010, United States Capitol Police opened fire on a man spotted with a gun within walking distance of the Capitol. When confronted by police, the man pointed his gun at them and refused to drop his weapon. The man was shot and transported to an area hospital for his injuries.

On Jan. 30, 1885, President Andrew Jackson survived an assassination attempt when an unemployed painter named Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot him with two different guns just outside the Capitol. Both guns misfired and Lawrence was subdued by Jackson’s aides.

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