Staples alum on scene for Capitol Hill shooting

Staples alum Ben Reiser ’13 was walking a few blocks along Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C., to his congressional internship early this afternoon when he saw hordes of police running in one direction and cars halted. Soon enough, the police started to direct him and others into buildings. Shots had been fired on Capitol Hill, and the entire complex was in lockdown.

“Instinct kicked in, and I ran with them into another congressional office that I don’t normally work in,” Reiser said in an interview conducted over Facebook chat. “Staffers in the halls were rushed into offices and doors locked.”

According to news sources, there is little known about the event other than the fact that a vehicle hit a short post northwest of the White House and then drove to the Capitol where police immediately rushed to the building and pulled inside anyone walking by. News sources said shots were fired by the driver of the car.

Reiser, an intern in the office of Representative Tim Griffin (R-AK), said he initially thought a normal presidential motorcade was nearby until he saw other civilians were also frantically running around.

After being in lockdown for just under an hour, Reiser and others were finally released just after 3:00 p.m. During the interview, he was on his way back to Griffin’s office to check in with his staff. He said he, along with others, is waiting for an explanation to this unexpected event.

“Everything is kind of hushed and everyone is shaken,” Reiser said.

Reiser was not the only Staples alum with close ties to the scene. Alexandra O’Kane, also a Staples ’13 graduate and a Georgetown student, was on campus when the shooting occurred. “I’ve been going to and from class like any normal Thursday,” said O’Kane

“It’s scary to think about the fact that the government is completely shut down right now as that is happening,” she said. “Just yesterday I was on a run, and I passed the Capitol multiple times, so it’s frightening to think that the same spot is in fear of being attacked right now.”

According to O’Kane, Georgetown is presently alerting its students with constant notifications on the situation but is carrying on as if it were any other typical school day.

With the Navy Yard shootings and now this, Washington has been through a lot.

A third Staples alum, Eric Essagof ’12, a student at George Washington, tweeted this afternoon, “This is the second time in a month I’ve had to call my parents to let them know I’m alive. These shootings have to stop.”