Tim and Jennifer Arnold just got out of a pedicab with their two daughters when they noticed a black car speeding past them in fast pursuit.
"Then we heard five or six gunshots - bam, bam, bam, bam, bam," said Tim Arnold, 48, a computer systems programmer. "I said 'Get on the ground.'"
Jennifer Arnold jumped over a row of bushes and lied on the ground with her daughters for several minutes.
"I could smell the gun smoke," said Jennifer Arnold, 44, a human resources worker. "It was like sulfur."
The family stayed crouched on the ground until police ordered everyone to leave the area. They walked in groups across the street and away from the shooting scene.
"I was shaking and crying," said 13-year-old Olivia Arnold. She motioned to her little sister, 8-year-old Isabella, and said, "She was trying to console me."
The family arrived in Washington late Sunday night from Louisville, KY for a long-planned trip to visit the nation's capital. Their week was already hampered by the shutdown that left many tourist sites closed. Now, their weeklong trip may be over.
"I'm done trying to show the kids important things," Jennifer Arnold said. "We're going to Disney World."
As a police officer drove by, explaining the area was now safe, 8-year-old Isabella Arnold hugged her mom and looked up and asked "Can we go home now?"