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Arlington resident who works for BU describes lockdown on Capitol Hill after deadly shooting

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  October 4, 2013 02:28 PM

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An Arlington resident who works for Boston University said she sheltered in place in a Capitol Hill building less than a mile from where police shot a woman Thursday afternoon following a dramatic chase.

“We were in an office, finishing a meeting and an emergency alarm went off. As we were leaving, we heard an order from the Capitol Hill police that there’s a possible shooting, to shelter in place and lock your doors,” Stephanie Ettinger De Cuba said in a phone interview today, after flying back to Boston Thursday evening.

Through the BU School of Public Health, De Cuba works as a research and policy director for Children's HealthWatch. On Thursday afternoon, she met at the Longworth House Office Building with officials from the US House Committee on Agriculture to discuss what impacts a farming bill proposal could have on children’s health.

As alarms sounded, people in the building grew nervous as they heard reports of the nearby chaos, she said.

“At the beginning we didn’t know what was going on. At first we were told there might be multiple shooters,” De Cuba said.

They turned on a television in the room to the news.

“We eventually learned it happened on the other side of the Hill,” said De Cuba

She and the others waited in the office for a while, staying away from windows and texting friends and family to tell them they were safe. The lockdown orders were later lifted.

Walking around Capitol Hill afterward, she said there was an unusual number of heavily-armed Capitol Hill police patrolling the area.

“You don’t normally see so many of them with large machine guns,” she said. It was strange and eerie. It was sort of like after the Marathon bombings,” when there was a large police presence throughout a wide portion of the city.

De Cuba said the atmosphere in the nation’s capital was tense. Thursday’s violence came a little more than two weeks after 13 people, including the gunman, died after a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

“I’m sure everybody was already nervous from that,” De Cuba said. “With so many shootings that have gone on recently, I think people are just on edge.”

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mjrochele@gmail.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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