A man carrying a .22-caliber rifle foiled security at the State Department on Friday and made his way to an office near that of Secretary of State George P. Shultz, where he fatally shot his mother, who worked there, then killed himself, police and State Department officials said.
The shooting, which occurred amid heightened tensions over terrorist attacks worldwide, was the first such incident reported in Washington since extensive security procedures were enacted at government buildings over the last 18 months.
At the State Department, cement barricades intended to block car bombs, as well as metal detectors similar to those used to spot weapons at airports, have been installed to protect against a terrorist attack.
Officials said they were uncertain how the man was able to enter the building with the collapsible rifle and reach the seventh floor to carry out the shootings, within 100 to 150 feet of Shultz's suite of offices.
Shultz was said to be on the telephone, speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, about the time of the shootings, which occurred just after noon.
District of Columbia police officials identified the gunman as Edward Steven Doster, 20, of Alexandria, Va., and his mother as Carole E. Doster, 44, a secretary who worked in the office of State Department counselor Edward J. Derwinski. The counselor, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, was in Japan at the time.
"The incident was in no way related to any official business of the State Department or any of its officials. At no time was there a threat to the secretary of state or any other senior official," State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb said. "This was not a terrorist incident."
A senior State Department official said that security procedures at the building, which covers a full city block, were being reviewed. "I'm sure certain changes will be made," he said.
$90 Million for Security
The department's security division has been given $90 million in the current fiscal year for its work protecting the building, U.S. embassies around the world and U.S. diplomats. The official said he was uncertain how much of that money was spent on security equipment and protection procedures at the State Department offices here.
Under policies in effect Friday morning, the 7,000 State Department employees who work in the building and visitors who accompany them were not screened for weapons and could bring in packages and briefcases that were not subject to inspection by guards.
In addition, dependents and spouses of the employees could receive two-year passes that allowed them to enter the building without going through the metal detectors installed at each entrance or without other screening procedures. The doors are guarded by uniformed, armed members of the Federal Protective Service.
However, within hours of the incident, officers acting under new instructions directed pass-holding reporters, who had been allowed to bypass the metal detectors, to undergo the security check as they entered the building.
"I think we have good security. I think tragic incidents such as this can take place. It is possible for an employee with a weapon to walk in and shoot someone. Are we going to search 7,000 people every day? I don't think so," said the senior State Department official, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.
Police in Washington and in Alexandria, across the Potomac River, said the mother and son had been involved in a long-running feud. Alexandria police said Edward Doster had been scheduled to appear in court next Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery brought by his mother.
David Speck, Carol Doster's brother, said the mother and son had lived together until three weeks ago.
Beth Kersey, general manager of the apartment complex where they lived, said Carole Doster "asked us not to let her son into our apartments. She just said that she was afraid of him."