A Capitol Police officer has died after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife.
Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters on Friday.
Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.
“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”
Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that investigators initially believed the suspect stabbed one of the officers, but it was later unclear whether the knife actually made contact, in part because the vehicle struck the officers with such force.
The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Authorities said there wasn’t an ongoing threat, though the Capitol was put on lockdown for a time as a precaution.
There was no immediately apparent connection between Friday’s crash and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green. Investigators were digging into his background and working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.
Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar.
Green was a follower of the Nation of Islam and its founder, Louis Farrakhan, according to recent messages posted online that have since been taken down. The messages were captured by the group SITE, which tracks online activity.
“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote.
“I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.”
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and his wife were heartbroken to learn of the attack and expressed condolences to Evans’ family. He directed flags at the White House to be lowered to half staff.
The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most were away from the building for the current recess.
The attack occurred about 100 yards from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol.
One witness, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said he was finishing a Good Friday service nearby when he heard three shots ring out.
Evans was the seventh Capitol Police member to die in the line of duty in the department’s history, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks deaths of law enforcement.
“Today, once again, these heroes risked their lives to protect our Capitol and our country, with the same extraordinary selflessness and spirit of service seen on January 6,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire House, we are profoundly grateful.”
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