Shots were fired near a checkpoint on Capitol Hill, where the American Congress is located in Washington DC.

The police said a female driver struck a US Capitol Police cruiser near the Botanic Gardens and nearly hit officers on foot. The police excludes any link to terrorism.

A DC police spokesperson said the shots were fired in an attempt to arrest the suspect, but no one was injured.

In a statement read out to the press, the police spokesperson said the investigation is still in the preliminary stage but "the incident appears to be criminal in nature with no nexus to terrorism".

According to an earlier witness report – quoted by the Associated Press – the police ordered a woman driving a vehicle that was approaching the checkpoint to stop.

The driver attempted to run over officers who were on foot and several gunshots were heard, directed at the vehicle.

The police said the suspect was taken into custody but they were not releasing any further information at this point.

Almost a year ago to date, the US Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after gunshots were heard. A police officer and the gunman were wounded in the shooting. At the time, the police said the man was known to officials, and that the incident was "an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before. There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act."