A gunman walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Wednesday and opened fire on security guards, police said.
Sergeant David Schlosser, a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said the gunman fired at two security guards who returned fire. One of the guards and the gunman were shot, but the extent of their injuries was not yet known.
The shooting occurred at about 1 P.M. and both the guard and the gunman were rushed to area hospitals, police officer Israel James said.
Fire department spokesman Alan Etter told CNN a third person was hurt after being cut by broken glass.
The gunman, identified by a witness as a white male with a silver gun, was taken into police custody. Various media reports named him as a well-known 89-year-old white supremacist, but police have not yet verified those speculations.
President Barack Obama said immediately following the incident that he was “saddened” by the attack and concerned for the health of the wounded guard.
The museum normally has a heavy security presence with guards positioned both inside and outside. All visitors are required to pass through metal detectors at the entrance, and bags are screened.
The museum, located just off the National Mall near the Washington Monument, is a popular tourist attraction. It draws about 1.7 million visitors each year.
Roads surrounding the museum have been closed.
Stephanie Geraghty, 28, who had been visiting the museum, said the shooter appeared to be a white male carrying a silver gun.
“I heard the first shot, it sounded like something had been dropped from the upper stories down,” she told Reuters. “The next two came really fast - bam bam. At that point everyone took off, chaos, running.”
A woman whose teenaged daughter was visiting the museum at the time of the shooting said that the children heard several gunshots before they were evacuated from the building.
Sandy Perkins says her daughter, Abigail, called her shortly after the shooting and said some of her friends were very shaken, but otherwise were fine.
The teens did not see where the shots were coming from before they were safely evacuated to buses outside the museum.
Last month, 21-year-old Jewish student Johanna Justin-Jinich was shot at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Authorities have called the attack an anti-Semitic incident.
Also last month, four New York men were arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb a Bronx synagogue.
This story "Gunman Fires on Security Guards at U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C." was written by Haaretz.