Senate Democrats

Reid Remarks On 11th Anniversary Of U.S. Capitol Shooting

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks this morning on the floor of the U.S. Senate in remembrance of the 11th anniversary of the U.S. Capitol shooting:

“There are a select few men and women who come to work every day with one primary job: to protect those of us who are fortunate enough to call this United States Capitol building our office, and all who come here from all corners of our country to see for themselves the heart of our democracy.

“Special Agent John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut were two such men.  Every day for almost two decades, they kept us safe.  And 11 years ago today, they gave their lives while doing so.

“On this day in 1998, a madman came through an entrance on the East side of this building in the mid-afternoon and shot Officer Chestnut at point-blank range.  Officer Chestnut died instantly.  Agent Gibson confronted the man next, shooting him and stopping him.  But Gibson was himself hit, and he died later that day.

“I can clearly remember both of these brave men, each of whom was in his 18th year of service to the Capitol Police when he was killed.

“When my wife became ill on a Congressional retreat in Virginia, it was Agent Gibson who ran to her side.  I can remember how he was so focused and was sweating so profusely, but how he treated her with kindness and care.

“Agent Gibson, who was from Massachusetts, would race to the back of the sports section each morning to find the box score for his beloved Boston Red Sox.  He was a generous neighbor and a loving father to his daughter and two sons.

“Officer Chestnut – everyone called him ‘J. J.’ – was a father of five who loved his job and loved his country.  He served in the Air Force for 20 years and fought in Vietnam.  At the time of the shooting, he was just weeks away from retiring.

“Gibson and Chestnut lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, just steps from where they were murdered – a distinction Congress has conferred upon only a handful of Americans, including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and our unknown soldiers.  Jacob Chestnut was the first African-American ever to be so honored in our Capitol Rotunda.

“On this solemn anniversary, we pause to appreciate not just the bravery of two men who saved so many others, but each and every Capitol Police officer who does his or her job so valiantly every single day of the year.  On behalf of the entire United States Senate and everyone who works and visits here, thank you.”