By Ryan Keith, The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An unarmed security guard was shot to death
just inside a state Capitol entrance Monday afternoon, and
authorities were searching for the shooter, who escaped in a car.
The shooter entered the north entrance and shot the security guard at
about 1:45 p.m., said Randy Nehrt, a spokesman for the Secretary of
State's Office, which has law enforcement jurisdiction over the
The attack was fast, with the gunman immediately firing one shot that
hit the guard in the chest and then getting out, putting a gun in the
trunk of a car and driving away, said Col. Larry Schmidt, chief
deputy director of the Secretary of State Police. He said the guard
died in a hospital operating room.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not in the Capitol at the time, and the
Legislature is not in session.
At least three or four people saw the shooter, Schmidt said. Most of
the witnesses were outside, and officials were also reviewing footage
from surveillance cameras in the area, he said.
Springfield police said they also were investigating another shooting
about an hour earlier at a military surplus store about 2 miles from
the Capitol involving a man who matched the description of the
The Capitol entrance where the man was shot has no metal detectors,
and its security guards are not armed.
Leslie Root, who works for state Sen. Chris Lauzen on the first floor
near the location of the shooting, said she and her colleagues heard
"It just sounded like a bomb went off. Then someone immediately
yelled, 'Someone's been shot,"' Root said.
She said the staff rushed inside the office and locked the door.
An announcement over the intercom ordered everyone to stay in their
offices, and the building was locked down for about an hour.
Outside, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building, and
officers roped off the entrance. After the lockdown was lifted, armed
officers were in the halls and everyone entering the building was
required to sign in, rather than the usual procedure of simply
showing a badge.
Springfield Deputy Police Chief Jim Burton said someone matching the
description of the Capitol shooter and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun
had gone into a nearby military surplus store, Birds and Brooks, at
about 12:25 p.m. and demanded a high-powered rifle.
The man, described as white and about 20 years old, fled after the
owner recognized him as someone who had stolen a shotgun on Sept. 14,
locked himself in his office and began shooting through the door,
A man with the same description went to the Capitol a little over an
hour later and shot a security guard, Burton said. He said
Springfield Police are investigating the two shootings as possibly
Police said they were searching for a silver or gray two-door car.
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Associated Press reporters Christopher Wills in Springfield and
Nicole Ziegler Dizon in Chicago contributed to this report.