WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Witnesses reacted after shots were fired at the U.S. Capitol Monday afternoon.
Alongside tourists, many locals were in downtown D.C. during the shooting due to the Cherry Blossoms, spring break in Maryland and the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
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One father was inside the Capitol with his family before the shots were fired. Not knowing what was happening, he shielded his son as the suspect ran by in what he described as a "chaotic scene."
Families were on lockdown in the White House, due to the shooting. Many witnesses took to social media to share their experiences.
A friend of mine is the White House Easter Egg roll with her daughter. They were on lockdown due to shooting at Capitol. They're okay.— Sandra (@geekchic9) March 28, 2016
Well I'm at the White House for the Easter Egg Roll and apparently it's on lockdown due to a shooting at the Capitol....— ◆кαтє◆ (@Rickys_Pecks) March 28, 2016
One witness posted video to Instagram from inside the Capitol as the incident was unfolding. The video shows the chaos of people hurrying and being pushed to a corner of the building by a security guard.
Many visitors told WUSA9 that they were relocated to a theater inside the Capitol Building.
Witnesses said the theater was utilized as a “safe room” with armed guards monitoring the doors as they brought people inside.
An Ohio woman waiting for her husband and two sons said her family was being held in that theater. Diane Bilo told WUSA9 her family of five had separated as Bilo’s husband and two sons went to get tour passes.
The mother embraced her two sons once they finally reunited outside of the Capitol Building.
Bob Bilo said he heard multiple shots and believes it was the sound of police shooting back at the suspect.
Many visitors described the panic and chaos once people started running. Others described a smooth police operation and thanked law enforcement for their work during those tense moments. One person said an officer was telling jokes to calm some of the many kids and families down.