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Turlock students visiting Capitol are safe, says school official
DC trip pic
Dutcher Middle School and Sacred Heart students pose for a picture on the steps of the Capitol. None of the 49 Turlock students currently on trips in Washington, D.C. were present during Monday's shooting at a Capitol checkpoint. - photo by Photo Contributed

As news spread of a shooting at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, many local parents frantically called school administrators to check on the welfare of their children who are currently in Washington , D.C. on field trips.

According to Turlock Unified School District Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan, none of the Turlock students were at the Capitol during the shooting and all were safe and accounted for.

"The Turlock Unified School District is both thankful and relieved to report that 49 Turlock Junior High School students, 23 Dutcher Middle School students and five Sacred Heart students, including their 34 adult chaperones, are safe in Washington D.C. and were not present at the Capitol when today’s shooting occurred.  Staff reports that Dutcher Middle School and Sacred Heart students were at the National Air and Space Museum and TJHS students were at the White House during this unsuspected and alarming event," said Trevethan in a released statement.

Police shot a man on Monday after he pulled a weapon at a U.S. Capitol checkpoint, authorities said. The suspect was taken to a local hospital, and a female bystander also sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The U.S. Capitol was on lockdown for about an hour and the White House also was briefly locked down. As the capital teemed with spring tourists in town to view the cherry blossoms, staff members and visitors to the Capitol were rushed into offices and told to shelter in place.

"We do believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before and there is no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act," Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa told reporters. He said it was unclear how many officers fired their guns. Initial reports had said an officer was injured but that proved wrong.

Verderosa said the suspect's vehicle had been found on Capitol grounds and was being seized.

The police chief said the suspect was undergoing surgery but provided no information on his condition.

Monday's event unfolded with Congress on recess and lawmakers back in their districts. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., issued a statement thanking Capitol Police, as did other congressional leaders. "This evening our thoughts and prayers are with all those who faced danger today," Ryan said.

The sprawling Capitol Visitors Center where the shooting occurred remained closed into the evening as the incident was being investigated, while the Capitol itself and nearby office buildings reopened.

—Associated Press reports contributed to this story.