Capitol Police Officer William F. Evans was killed and a second officer was injured after being rammed by a automobile at the closely guarded northern entrance to the U.S. Capitol on Friday, the performing chief of the Capitol Police mentioned. The suspect was shot and killed.
Officer Evans, an 18-year veteran of the power who served with the division’s first responder unit and was identified to buddies as Billy, was injured within the violent confrontation and died shortly after, the chief, Yogananda D. Pittman, mentioned in a press release.
“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Ms. Pittman mentioned at a information convention close to the scene of the assault, her voice choked with emotion. “I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi known as Officer Evans “a martyr for our democracy.”
The different officer was in “stable and nonthreatening condition,” the Capitol Police mentioned on Friday night.
After ramming the officers, the attacker “exited the vehicle with a knife in hand” and commenced “lunging” at the officers, Ms. Pittman mentioned at the information convention. The suspect was subsequently recognized by a senior regulation enforcement official as Noah Green, 25, of Indiana.
Investigators don’t but know the motive for the assault, however don’t imagine it was “terrorism-related” at this time, Chief Robert J. Contee III of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department advised reporters.
Ms. Pittman didn’t establish Mr. Green, however mentioned that the motive force had not been beforehand identified to her company. On his Facebook web page, which has since been taken down, Mr. Green described himself as a supporter of the Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan and mentioned he had been struggling by way of the previous few months of the pandemic.
The assault was essentially the most critical safety risk at the Capitol for the reason that lethal Jan. 6 riot that injured dozens and killed 5 individuals. A National Guard quick-response workforce, which was deployed after the riot, and the native police have been available at the already closely fortified Capitol advanced.
President Biden ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in honor of Officer Evans, and Ms. Pelosi ordered the identical at the Capitol.
Mr. Biden, who had left Washington to go to Camp David earlier than the assault, mentioned in a press release that he was receiving “ongoing briefings” from his homeland safety adviser.
“Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the U.S. Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the U.S. Capitol Police and left a fellow officer fighting for his life,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’s family and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there and those who protect it.”
In latest days, some Republicans, citing the diminished risk of violence at the Capitol, had known as for scaling again some safety measures. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief, complained final month that the cordon of fencing and armed troopers have been “overdone,” and said the militarized atmosphere reminded him of his “last visit to Kabul” in 2015.
On Friday, he praised the Capitol Police.
“Once again, brave officers of the United States Capitol Police have been violently attacked while simply doing their job,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement, adding, “We could not be more grateful for the professionalism and heroism of the officers who neutralized this threat at the checkpoint and for the entire U.S.C.P. force, who have had to endure so much in just a few short months.”
The Capitol went into lockdown around 1 p.m. on what had been a quiet, sunny Friday, with the police instructing staff to remain inside, away from doors and windows, and to “seek cover” if they were outside, citing an unspecified “external security threat.”
Images posted on social media appeared to show emergency workers treating someone on the driveway of the Capitol. A blue car could be seen rammed into a security barricade, with the driver’s side door and trunk open.
One member of the news media, Jake Sherman, posted a video showing a helicopter landing near the building, hovering a few feet off the ground and then careening through trees as police vehicles drove across the plaza.
Around 2:30 p.m. on Friday, the Capitol Police said that the threat to the building had been “neutralized.”
With Congress in recess, most lawmakers were not on Capitol Hill. But many aides were in and around the Capitol working or receiving coronavirus vaccinations.
The attack came more than a week after officials removed a perimeter fence topped with razor wire that had been placed around the complex after the Jan. 6 riot, and reopened the streets surrounding the Capitol to vehicle traffic.
They also announced that they would reduce the number of National Guard troops on Capitol Hill to 2,200 while extending their deployment until May 23.
An inner-perimeter fence around the actual Capitol building remains in place while the police and lawmakers continue to hash out a long-term security plan.
Ben Decker contributed reporting.