Matthew Verderosa, Chief of the US Capitol Police 28 March 2016
Matthew Verderosa, Chief of the US Capitol Police 28 March 2016

A man who attempted to enter the US Capitol building’s visitor centre in Washington D.C. has been shot by police, after he drew a gun.

US Capitol Hill Police identified the man as 66-year-old Larry Dawson of Tennessee, who was arrested for interrupting a congressional session last year, by yelling “prophet of god”.

Picture: Larry Dawson/Facebook

A female bystander was injured, struck by fragments of bullets when Dawson was shot by police. She has since been transported to hospital.

Police say he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. Officials originally said a police officer has been hurt, but Police Chief Matthew Verderosa later said no officers were shot, adding:

There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act.

This has angered some people, given his previous religiously-motivated arrest on the Capitol and the location in which he decided to draw a gun, asking whether this shooting incident would have been treated differently if he was Muslim:

Abed Ayoud, the legal and policy director for Washington DC-based thinktank the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told indy100 last year that he believed the word 'terrorism' had become reserved only for violence associated with Islam:

The only time the word terrorism or terrorist is used is when the perpetrator happens to be an Arab or a Muslim.

When the perpetrator happens to be a white American then the terminology is changed. So if it’s a white person then often we will hear that they have mental issues, they are troubled, different descriptions for their mental state.

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