A lockdown was imposed on Friday after a man rammed a vehicle into two police officers outside the US Capitol, resulting in the death of one of them. The man then emerged out of the vehicle with a knife and started dashing at the injured officers, prompting the police to shoot at him. He died later at a hospital.
The deceased officer was identified as an 18-year veteran of the force, William Billy Evans, who had joined the department in 2003 and was a member of its first responders unit. His death was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the January 6 insurrection.
Two unnamed law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the suspect even stabbed one of the officers.
Authorities said that there wasn’t an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism, though the Capitol was put on lockdown as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the January 6 riot.
The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most are away from the building during the current recess. The attack occurred about 91 meters 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 suddenly heard three shots ring out.
It comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as the Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.
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Five people died in the January 6 riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off the insurrectionists. Authorities installed a tall perimeter fence around the Capitol and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they had begun pulling back some of the emergency measures in recent weeks. The fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed.
Law enforcement officials identified the slain suspect as Noah Green, 25. Investigators were digging into the suspects background and examining whether he had any mental health history as they tried to discern a motive. They were working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.
(With inputs from agencies)