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Two guards injured in attack at Washington Basilica

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By Christine Rousselle and Matt Hadro

Washington D.C., Dec 10, 2019 / 09:35 am (CNA).- Police have ended a standoff with a suspect after an attack at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception left two people injured.

Two security guards at the shrine are reportedly “conscious and breathing” after one was stabbed and another was struck by a vehicle shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, a 911 call was recieved at 9:14 a.m. after a female security guard was struck by a car in the parking lot east of the basilica. The suspect’s SUV also hit several other cars that were parked in the lot. The suspect then chased a male security guard before stabbing him inside the shrine itself.

The suspect then fled the scene in a Lincoln Navigator, which was later found in Northwest DC. Metropolitan police said that the suspect then barricaded himself inside his home before emerging and being taken into police custody. He was taken to a hospital where he will be treated for minor injuries, including lacerations. Police confirmed that charges will be filed.

An update from Assistant Chief of Police Jeffery Carroll stated that police were able to establish communication with the suspect, who then gave himself up. Carroll said that it is believed that the suspect had some sort of domestic relationship with the female security guard.

“There’s no information there’s any actual connection to the Shrine, other than the individuals worked at that location,” said Carroll. “The motivation that we have, preliminarily, is that it appears to be domestic in nature.”

Carroll also provided a more details on the attack, saying that the female security guard is believed to have been struck “at least” twice by the suspect’s vehicle, and was “pinned” between his car and another car for a period of time. The male security guard was stabbed “several times” inside the basilica after the female guard was hit by the car.

Both of the victims are “stable at a local hospital,” said Carroll.

No further information about the suspect was released. It is not clear if he had any criminal history or if he was ever employed at the Shrine.

Jacquelyn Hayes, director of communications for the National Shrine, told CNA that “the suspect was known” to both security guards, and that no other information was being released at this time.

No visitors or pilgrims to the shrine have been reported as injured.

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