A Somber Anniversary
The door Russell Weston Jr. entered 10 years ago today is closed to the public now, though it is adorned with a memorial plaque. The office where he was felled has a new occupant. The Capitol Police force is much bigger -- including one officer whose father was killed by Weston -- and the entire Capitol complex more fortress-like. A new Capitol Visitor Center, designed partly to improve security, is in the final stage of construction. And the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 have superseded the one on July 24, 1998 in the collective congressional memory of traumatic events.
Much has changed since the day Weston burst through the "Document Door" on the East Front of the Capitol and shot Ofc. Jacob Chestnut, who was manning the door, and then entered the office of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas), where Weston exchanged gunfire with Det. John Gibson. Weston was hit in the exchange, as was Gibson, who died of his wounds.
As today's On the Hill column notes, there will be a moment of silence at 3:40 p.m. in the House and Senate to mark the anniversary and remember the two fallen officers. Then Congress' top four leaders will plant a tree in their memory on the East Front. And there is plenty you can read online to reaquaint yourself with that day's tragic events.
The Washington Post's full coverage of the incident, from the shootings to the investigation, Weston's legal case and the full aftermath, is all available to read here. Roll Call (sub req'd) talked to Jack Gibson, the son of the slain Det. Gibson, who is now also a Capitol Police officer. And the Hill has remembrances of that day from DeLay and other members and staff who were present.
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