Rhode Island's congressional delegation was all at the Capitol when those shots rang out Thursday. Congressman Jim Langevin told us, he thought it was a drill, until Capitol Police showed up and told him to take shelter, and he quickly realized it was no drill.
Congressman Langevin was in his office while the drama was unfolding outside of the Capitol.
"This was clearly no test, this was a serious situation that was unfolding on the Capitol complex," said Congressman Langevin.
A photo taken by a photographer for the NY Post, shows Senator Jack Reed making his way for cover.
"I was notified by the capitol police officer that shots had been fired," Reed said.
Congressman Cicilline was also in his office when the violence unfolded.
"So we locked our doors, they advised us to stay away from the windows, and shelter in place until further notice," said Cicilline.
Senator Whitehouse said he knew something was wrong when he saw capitol police run past him in the halls.
Whitehouse said, "I had seen some capitol police officers run up the stairs from the trolley area to the Capitol so I knew something was up."
The bedlam lasted less than an hour. Especially upsetting for the members of congress. Police told them to hide their badges because they may be targets.
"It was a very serious and tragic incident this afternoon," said Reed.
The impact of the shutdown was even felt during Thursday's chaos. Capitol police officers responded to the incident who are not getting paid.