On Monday a man walked into the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, pulled out a gun and was shot by a U.S. Capitol police officer. Contrary to previous reports, an officer was not wounded in the shooting, but a female bystander was injured in the incident, authorities say. Here is everything we know about the shooting and the alleged shooter.
The Alleged Shooter
Larry Russell Dawson is a 66-year-old pastor from Antioch, Tenn. He presides over the St. Luke’s Community Church in Nashville, Tenn., and was arrested and charged with the shooting Monday. According to the Washington Post, Dawson was issued a stay-away order after authorities say he interrupted a 2015 House of Representatives session, yelling that he was “a prophet of God.” According to the arrest documents regarding that incident, which were viewed by NBC Washington, “Dawson was removed from [the] gallery and, while being removed from the building, pushed a police officer and began to run. He was caught and charged with assault on a police officer.” Dawson wrote a letter to federal court protesting the stay-away order, in which he claimed that as a “true prophet of God,” he didn’t have to follow the law.
“Therefore, I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself unto your office. No longer will I let myself be governed by flesh and blood, but only by the Divine Love of God!!!” he wrote, according to reporting by a WUSA9 producer.
What Happened at the U.S. Capitol Monday?
According to several reports, authorities say Dawson walked into the Visitor Center around 2:40 p.m., took out what appeared to be a gun as he walked through the security line and began pointing it. Officers immediately began telling guests to “get down,” according to the Post. One officer opened fire on Dawson, who was hit, authorities said. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was reported to be in stable but critical condition. Dawson has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed, NBC News reports. NBC News is also reporting that Dawson was armed with a pellet gun.
Dawson Is No Stranger to Congress
Before his alleged 2015 outburst, Dawson attempted to raise money to come to Washington, D.C., to advocate to Congress for a minimum wage increase to $15. According to a post on his church’s website, Dawson had been to D.C. at least three times to push for a higher minimum wage.
Dawson wrote on the church’s website: