Security guard shot at state Capitol
SPRINGFIELD -- An unarmed security guard was shot just inside the state Capitol entrance this afternoon, and authorities were searching for the shooter, who apparently fled.
The shooter entered the north entrance and shot the security guard at about 1:45 p.m., then escaped in a vehicle, said Randy Nehrt, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office, which has law enforcement jurisdiction over the building. He said the shooter had not yet been caught an hour later.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not in the Capitol at the time, and the Legislature is not in session.
Dave DeFraties, chief of operations with the Springfield Fire Department, said paramedics were called to treat someone who had been shot and that the victim was taken to a hospital. He said he could not release details of the person's conditions.
The Capitol entrance has no metal detectors, and its law enforcement officers are not armed.
"It just sounded like a bomb went off. Then someone immediately yelled, 'Someone's been shot,''' said Leslie Root, who works for state Sen. Chris Lauzen on the first floor near the location of the shooting.
She said staff went inside the office and locked the door.
The Capitol was locked down for about an hour, following an announcement over the intercom ordering everyone to stay in their offices.
Outside, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building, and officers roped off the entrance. After the lockdown was lifted, everyone entering the building was required to sign in, rather than the usual procedure of simply showing a badge to enter.
It has not yet been determined whether the gun used in this shooting was an assault weapon, one that President George Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress just legalized last week when they refused to extend the successful Assault-Weapon ban that President Clinton signed ten years ago.
"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam. I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."
~ John Kerry, 9/04.