Capitol Police Officer Killed After Man Rammed Car at Checkpoint
(Bloomberg) -- A U.S. Capitol Police officer died and another was injured as officers fatally shot a knife-wielding man after he crashed a car into a security checkpoint outside the Capitol building, in an incident that officials say does not appear to be terrorism-related.
The man, Noah Green, 25, rammed his car into two officers shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday, then slammed it into a raised, retractable barrier, got out of his car flashing a knife and began “lunging toward” Capitol Police officers, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters.
“Our officers then engaged that suspect, he did not respond to verbal commands,” she said. “The suspect did start lunging toward U.S. Capitol police officers, at which time Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect.”
The FBI’s Washington field office is helping the capital’s police department with the investigation, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. President Joe Biden said he’s being kept updated by his homeland security adviser.
Pittman said Green was killed and that one of the officers -- both of whom were taken to hospitals -- died. “It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries.”
Capitol Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force.
“At this time it does not appear to be an ongoing threat,” Metropolitan D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said to reporters after the episode, which occurred less than three months after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. He said there was no known “nexus” between the suspect and any member of Congress that would suggest he was targeting a lawmaker.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Capitol Police thwarted a “heinous attack” in the same spirit that officers risked their lives when a mob of rioters stormed the building on Jan. 6. Evans “is a martyr for our democracy,” she said.
“Today, America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Biden ordered flags at the White House, public buildings and diplomatic missions lowered to half-staff until Tuesday and expressed “the nation’s gratitude” to the law-enforcement agencies who responded.
“We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it,” he said in a statement.
Another U.S. Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after responding to the Jan. 6 rioters.
Police withheld the name of the injured officer pending notification of kin and further investigation. Contee said police do not immediately have a motive for Green’s actions, though he said “it does not appear to be terrorism-related.”
Neither the U.S. House nor Senate were in session on Good Friday, and most members were away from Washington for the Easter weekend. Video footage from the scene showed that the car had been driving fast enough for the airbag to deploy when it hit the security barricade.
The incident occurred at a “vehicle access point” on the Senate side of the Capitol along Constitution Avenue in Washington.
A security lockdown was put into place during the incident, with no one allowed to enter or exit Capitol complex buildings, but they were allowed to move within the campus of buildings. The alert was lifted later in the afternoon.
The Capitol has been under heavy security since the Jan. 6 attack on the building by supporters of former President Donald Trump that occurred while Congress was voting to certify the 2020 election in Biden’s favor. Some perimeter fencing has since been removed, but not all of it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that he was “praying for the United States Capitol Police officers” and “grateful” to first responders on the scene.
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