News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 17, 2013

Shootings disrupt Hoosiers on Capitol Hill

Arthur Foulkes and Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hoosier lawmakers and their staffs were among those whose normal routine was shattered by the deadly shootings on Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, fewer than two miles from Capitol Hill.

The U.S. Senate office buildings were placed on lockdown after the shootings, said staff members for Rep. Larry Bucshon, Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The lockdown was partially lifted at 3 p.m., but only congressional staffers were to be allowed back into the buildings until today, said Tara DiJulio, communications director for Sen. Coats.

The Senate postponed votes scheduled for Monday until today, she added.

Nick McGee, spokesman for Bucshon, said there was a heightened police presence on Capitol Hill after the shooting, but the U.S. House office buildings, which are about one-and-a-half miles from the Navy Yard, were not placed on lockdown.

“At this point, security is only letting staff in the buildings,” McGee said. “Schools have been on lockdown, and residents of the Navy Yard area were told to stay in their homes.”

House members were largely back in their home districts Monday, as is customary. Bucshon was in Indiana when the shootings took place and was expected back in Washington today, McGee said.

Donnelly, Coats and Bucshon all issued statements Monday sending their thoughts and prayers to those affected by the shootings and praising emergency responders.

Among those breathing a sigh of relief is Lori Henson, a journalism lecturer at Indiana State University, whose sister, Lisa, had worked at the Washington Navy Yard for several years — until about six weeks ago.

Her sister, 37, now works for the federal government at another location.

“I’m feeling very grateful that Lisa is not at the D.C. Navy Yard today. My heart goes out to all who are grieving today,” Lori Henson wrote on a social media site.

In an interview, Henson said her sister’s former supervisor and immediate co-workers were safe, but her sister remained concerned about others she had dealt with while employed there.

Lisa Henson graduated from Paris High School in 1994 and later pursued her undergraduate and graduate degrees at ISU.

To allow the U.S. Capitol Police to “concentrate on potential unknowns, on people approaching the [Capitol] complex,” the Senate buildings were placed on temporary lock down, meaning no one could enter or leave, according to a memorandum from the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer.

About 3 p.m., the lockdown was partially lifted to allow people to meet their “personal family obligations,” according to the memorandum.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@trib star.com. Reporter Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.