US Capitol locked down for two hours after apparent suicide
© Scott Wong
The U.S. Capitol went into lockdown for more than two hours Saturday afternoon following an apparent suicide to the west of the building, according to authorities. 
 
A man wielding a sign near the Capitol fountain just after 1 p.m. Saturday suffered "a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters at a briefing. 
 
Bomb squad units examined a backpack and roller case found near the man's body, which police handled as a suspicious package, before clearing the area. Several K-9 units were also seen in the vicinity. 
 
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Authorities confirmed the man had a sign, along with his other possessions, though the police chief declined to detail its contents, saying only, "It was just a social sign about social justice."
 
Police have so far declined to say whether the man was a local or from elsewhere and are not releasing his name until notification of next of kin, Dine said, adding authorities "potentially know who he is."
 
Robert Bishop, a developer from Annapolis, Md., was roughly 25 feet away and was facing the National Mall with his back to the man at the moment he apparently shot himself.
 
Bishop described the man as an "older gentleman" carrying a sign that said something along the lines of "the 1 percent" or "tax the 1 percent," based on his interactions with two other witnesses. He also had seen the man raise something moments before the gunshot.
 
"He hit the ground and wasn't moving," Bishop said.
 
Bishop said he saw a dark carry-on bag next to the man's body.
 
"The immediate concern was his suitcase," Bishop said, referring to the police lockdown, adding there was "no question" it was the man's. 
 
Bishop said the man appeared to be alone and that he was told he had a pistol, though police did not detail the type of weapon, only that he produced one.
 
Several dozen people were in the vicinity when the man shot himself, including a mother and her young daughter, based on pictures provided to The Hill by a witness.
 
Bishop said police were nearby and quickly forced everyone to move away. Dine said no shots were fired by police officers or any other law enforcement. 
 
The Capitol was locked down from shortly after the shooting until about 3:45 p.m.
 
The FBI was also on the scene and coordinating with the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police, though police said there appeared to be no connection to terrorism.
 
The shooting happened on one of the busiest days of the year in Washington, D.C., thousands of people taking advantage of the warm weather and blossoming cherry trees.
 
Scores of tourists meandering around the National Mall kept about their business, some snapping photos in front of the Capitol while about a dozen police officers and other individuals conferred behind them. 
 
One man, who has lived in the D.C. and Maryland area for 47 years, decided this year he would trek to the city to see the cherry blossoms with his family, when the shooting occurred.
 
Authorities maintained a perimeter around the west side of the building for several hours, with four firefighter engines and hazmat units on the scene, along with several police cars.
 
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the death. 
 
— Updated at 9:59 p.m.