Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark.
(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., pulled back from a comment he posted on Twitter in the frantic moments after the shooting near the U.S. Capitol that called on Democrats to end their "violent rhetoric".
"The victims and their families are in my thoughts and prayers. The shooting today is a terrible and inexcusable tragedy and an act of terrorism. No one but the shooter is to blame," Griffin said in a statement.
"We are still processing information about this shooting, but as I have been saying for days, we all need to choose our words wisely because violent rhetoric only coarsens our culture, creates an atmosphere of incivility and is not helpful. I tweeted out of emotion, but agree that the timing was not helpful."
STORY: Woman slain after car chase from White House to Capitol
A chase that began when a car rammed a barricade near the White House on Thursday led to the U.S. Capitol being locked down briefly. The woman driving the car was killed by police, District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said it was an "isolated incident" and not an act of terrorism.
Griffin posted his message after several people on Twitter commented about his original tweet, sent moments after shots were fired and which has since been deleted. "Stop the violent rhetoric President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. "#Disgusting," reads the original Griffin tweet. The Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops website captured the tweet, and estimated it was up for about 49 minutes before it was deleted.
The rhetoric in Washington has taken a sharper tone as Obama, Democrats and Republicans have struggled to reach an agreement that would end a budget stalemate that has led to the government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for example, said Democrats would not negotiate "with a gun to our head."
Contributing: Associated Press
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY