This story has been updated.
UPDATE 5:34 p.m. EDT: The lockdown at the U.S. Capitol and surrounding areas was ended shortly before 4 p.m. EDT, Reuters reported. The security shutdown lasted about two hours and was simply a precautionary measure, a police spokeswoman told the news service.
Police confirmed that the closure was due to an individual who shot himself near the Capitol. "Confirmed: self-inflicted gunshot by neutralized subject," Capitol Police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider said in a statement. She also confirmed later that the shooter was male.
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine reportedly told Fox News reporter Chad Pergram that the man who shot and killed himself had a "social justice" sign but did not elaborate on what the sign said.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EDT: A shooting outside the U.S. Capitol that locked down the building, surrounding streets and the Visitor’s Center has been ruled a suicide by local authorities, according to multiple reports. The shooter’s identity has not yet been released.
The shots were fired early Saturday afternoon on the west front of the building.
The lockdown on First Street between Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW remains in effect with police continuing to investigate a suspicious package that was discovered nearby on the west terrace. It is unknown whether the suicide and the package are related. The incident comes during a period of transition for the Capitol building's police force. Its chief of police, Kim Dine, submitted his letter of resignation Friday afternoon. Dine resigned following a January incident that saw a group of protesters get very close to former secretary of state Henry Kissinger in January.
The U.S. Capitol in Washington has been locked down after reports of a shooting outside the building Saturday afternoon. Confirmation of the lockdown has come from the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate and a representative of Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Public-safety alerts sent to residents of Washington said there was a suicide investigation under way on the 100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. A similar alert reported that First Street was closed between Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW because of police activity. The Capitol is located between those avenues.
Due to a police incident, the Capitol and CVC are currently on lock down. #alerts
— SenateSergeantAtArms (@SenateSAA) April 11, 2015
A representative of the U.S. Capitol Police told the Washington Post that the incident took place on the West Front of the building. She said the shooter had been “neutralized” and that the building was locked down as a precautionary measure. Reportedly related to the incident, Capitol Police are investigating a suspicious package on the lower West Terrace of the building, Washington’s WRC-TV said.
Early, unconfirmed reports indicated a person fatally shot himself or herself outside the building.
The nation’s capital is full of visitors this weekend as the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade began Saturday. The parade started at Seventh Street NW and Constitution Avenue at 10 a.m. EDT, moving along Constitution to 17th Street NW, where it ended at around noon. The festival is one of the most popular tourist draws in the city.