The Daily Beast reports…
“The man who drew a gun at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Monday previously called himself a “prophet of God” and said he does not obey man’s law.
U.S. Capitol Police said Larry Russell Dawson of Antioch, Tennessee, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. Dawson, 66, was shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer and is hospitalized in stable but critical condition, according to police.
At a press conference outside the Capitol on Monday evening, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said that at approximately 2:40 p.m. Dawson “drew what appeared to be a weapon and pointed it at officers” during a routine screening at the Visitor Center. One officer fired and struck Dawson.
The police officer was not injured, contrary to previous reports. A female bystander sustained a non-life-threatening injury during the incident, police said.
Dawson, the pastor of St. Luke’s Church outside Nashville, previously wrote on his church’s website that he was leading a “movement” to urge Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“Our assignment is to do the will of God in the Earth,” he wrote, citing financial independence as God’s will alongside saving souls.
Dawson said he had been to Washington, D.C., three times for his mission. One time, on Oct. 22, 2015, Dawson yelled, “I’m a prophet of God!” from the balcony of the House of Representatives.
Dawson then allegedly ran from cops and resisted arrest, according to a police report exclusively obtained by The Daily Beast. Cops cuffed him for allegedly assaulting a police officer and unlawful conduct at the Capitol.
The Washington Post reported that Dawson missed a court appearance in November, writing in a letter to the court:
“I have been called chosen and sent unto you this day. I am not under the law!…Therefore I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself to your office.”
Dawson returned to the Capitol on Monday—after spending Easter Sunday in church in Nashville with his daughter, according to a now deleted Facebook post—and this time he did more than interrupt a few congressmen.
The Gudmestad family was in the Visitor Center when the incident occurred.
“There was just yelling, and they told us to get down, and then the officers got us into the theater,” Amy Gudmestad told the Post.
“We were coming out of the Capitol when we heard, ‘Shots fired, shots fired,’” Matthew Melucci, who was at the Capitol with his wife and children, told the Nashville Tennessean. The family was quickly taken to a secure area, he said. “It was a scary moment about what was going to happen next. We felt lucky we were there with several police officers.”
The Capitol and adjacent office buildings were placed on lockdown, and staff were told to shelter in place before an all-clear order was issued after a half-hour. Many staffers and reporters thought the orders were part of a pre-scheduled lockdown drill held earlier that morning.
The Visitor Center was commissioned, in part, as a response to a 1998 shooting at the Capitol, when Russell Eugene Weston Jr., a paranoid schizophrenic, entered the building and shot and killed Capitol police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson. All visitors to the Capitol now enter via the underground center and its layers of security.
Violence is not uncommon on Capitol Hill. Last April, a man killed himself outside the building with a single shot, prompting a Capitol lockdown.
In 2013, a 34-year-old woman attempted to drive through a White House security checkpoint, striking a Secret Service agent in the process and leading police on a chase to the Capitol, where she was fatally shot. Her young daughter was discovered unharmed in the back seat of the vehicle after it had been stopped.
Three decades earlier, in 1971, the Weather Underground exploded a bomb in a Senate bathroom. No one was injured. And in 1954, four Puerto Rican nationalists fired 30 rounds from a balcony overlooking the House chambers, injuring five congressman, all of whom later recovered.
In 1835, President Andrew Jackson survived an assassination attempt after leaving a funeral at the Capitol. The gunman’s weapon misfired, sparing the president, who then confronted the perpetrator, clubbing him with a cane.”