As gunfire erupted Thursday near the U.S. Capitol, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley found himself with a first hand-view of the unfolding chaos.
Merkley said he was outside and coming back from a meeting with with senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of Ohio when swarms of police cars came screaming up Constitution Avenue.
“And we were looking around to see what they were responding to,” Merkley said. “Suddenly, at that point, we heard a series of shots. At first, I didn’t recognize they were shots. I thought that they must be police cars running over a steel plate in the highway or something. I’m looking around to see what they were hitting. And about then an officer began screaming at the three of us to get down, get behind a car.”
Merkley said within minutes he was ushered back to a secure location. The senator said from there he placed calls to his wife and his mother.
Merkley praised members of the Capitol Police for putting their lives on the line every day.