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Alaska delegation staff recounts lockdown at the Capitol

Posted: October 3, 2013 - 2:01pm  |  Updated: October 3, 2013 - 2:21pm

Staff in the offices of Alaska’s congressional delegation are a little shaken, but continuing with their day as scheduled after shots were fired by police this morning near the Capitol.

Matthew Felling, communications director for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, said about 20 people, including a group of constituents, were in Murkowski’s offices when several “loud pops” were heard. Felling said that Murkowski was not in her office at the time, but was in the building. He said there’s construction happening in the area, but staff didn’t think that’s where the noise had come form.

“When we were discussing how odd it was, that’s when we heard that the Capitol was locking down,” Felling said. “We locked all the doors and basically huddled in the center of the office away from windows and doors.”

Felling said he lives in the Navy Yard neighborhood in Washington D.C. Less than three weeks ago a shooter killed 12 people and injured three others at one of the secured facilities inside the Navy Yard.

“It’s been an anxious time,” Felling said.

Capitol Police announced over the loudspeaker system for all to “shelter in place,” which meant they were not to leave their offices until told otherwise.

Rachel Barinbaum, communications director for Sen. Mark Begich, said she didn’t hear the shots, but that she did hear the police announcement. Barinbaum said Begich was in a meeting when the announcement happened.

“The boss was concerned about his son and making sure he’s OK and making sure he knew that his dad was OK,” Barinbaum said.

Rep. Don Young’s communications director, Michael Anderson, said about 20 people — including about 10 constituents — were in their office when the announcement by Capitol Police was made.

“It’s pretty amazing how it was resolved so quickly,” Anderson said. “The House is back in session debating a funding bill for the National Guard. We’re just working hard to get us out of this shutdown.”

• Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at 523-2279 or at jennifer.n.canfield@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/canfieldjenn.

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