TEMPO.CO, Washington - A motorist rammed a vehicle into US Capitol police on Friday, April 2, and brandished a knife, killing one officer and injuring another and forcing the Capitol complex to lock down in an attack that police said did not immediately appear to be terrorism-related.
Police responded by firing on the suspect, who died.
Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, told a news conference that the suspect drove into the officers, then hit a barricade and got out of the car, lunging at them with a knife in his hand.
“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” she said, her voice choked with emotion.
The other officer was injured, she said.
The US Capitol Police later identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force.
“It does not appear to be terrorism-related but obviously we’ll continue to investigate,” said Robert Contee, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington.
President Joe Biden said he was heartbroken by the attack and ordered flags at the White House be lowered to half-staff. In a statement, he said he was being briefed on the investigation.
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources familiar with the investigation, named the suspect as Noah Green and reported that one of its sources said Green had an address in Virginia.
Police said the suspect was unknown to them, they had yet to determine what had motivated him, and they did not identify him.
“Clearly this was someone who was actively trying to just get at whoever or whatever - we just don’t know right now,” Contee said. “Whether the attack was at law enforcement, or whoever, we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of it and we’ll do that.”
Dozens of police cars, marked and unmarked, raced toward the iconic domed white building, in an unwelcome reminder of Jan. 6, when thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump overran the complex.
It was the worst security threat at the Capitol since then.
U.S. spy agencies warned in mid-March of an ongoing threat that racially motivated violent extremists, such as white supremacists, will carry out mass-casualty attacks on civilians while militia groups target police and government personnel and buildings.
Roads leading to the complex were blocked by police cars or officers and people inside the Capitol were told to stay away from windows for much of the afternoon before police announced that the lockdown had been lifted.
Videos and photographs from the scene showed a blue car rammed into a security barricade, a front door open.