WARREN - Walking back to his office inside the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and two of his Senate colleagues saw several police officers rush by and maybe three people outside the Dirksen Senate Building drop to the ground.
Then three, four, five gunshots rang out. Brown and the others crouched behind cars, and then were told to go back to the Capitol, about 150 yards away.
Brown, a Democrat, described in detail the tense moments following a shooting on Capitol Hill on a recording posted to his office's website.
This image from video provided by Alhurra Television shows police with guns drawn surrounding a black Infiniti near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday. A woman with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade, then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her, witnesses and officials said.
He said he and senators Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and Jeff Merkley of Oregon were about 60 yards away from where people crouched outside the Dirksen Building.
''They were not hit, we were certain of that,'' Brown said. ''But you couldn't really see where the shots were.
''But they weren't too far away because they were pretty loud, quick, kind of staccato pops that sounded like gunfire, I think.''
Capitol Hill was locked down Thursday after a woman in a vehicle with a young child tried to ram through a White House barricade and then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her.
During the lockdown, lawmakers went to Facebook and Twitter to announce they and their staffs were OK.
U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan tweeted, ''My staff and I are accounted for and we are sheltering in my officer per Capitol Police directions. My thoughts & prayers are w/any victims.'' Ryan, D-Niles, posted the same message on his Facebook page.
Ryan told the Tribune Chronicle later he was in his office meeting with representatives of the Human Rights Campaign in Ohio when a staff member told them of the lockdown. Police stopped the vehicle about 100 yards away from Ryan's apartment.
''We walk around the Capitol complex very openly,'' said Ryan, adding the thought of a potentially harmful event happening sometimes crosses his mind.
''There are a lot of police around, but at the same time, it's open, people are walking by, driving by, people are protesting all the time. You get used to it, but then something like this happens and they you really realize this is open and accessible.''
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman tweeted, ''Heard the gunshots & very grateful for the Capitol Police who I saw running to the danger & putting themselves in harm's way.''
He immediately followed with, ''Me and my team in DC are safe. Praying for the victims and their families.''
U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson and Dave Joyce and Brown also posted they were safe after the shots were fired.
''Our team is safe & accounted for. Thankful for the heroic U.S. Capitol Police,'' Joyce tweeted.
Johnson, who represents the southern portion of Mahoning County, had already left the House floor and was back in his office when, he said, the alarm sounded for the lockdown. Johnson said he turned on the television and with his staff.
''We, like all of America, saw this thing unfold at the time,'' Johnson said. ''My first concerns were for my colleagues, the members and their staff, the visitors coming in and out of the Capitol who might have been caught in the crossfire.''