A police officer was killed after the driver of a vehicle rammed barricades at the US Capitol building on Friday, leaving Washington shaken from another deadly assault on the seat of America’s legislature.
Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the United States Capitol Police, announced the death of the officer at a press briefing as she described the incident that occurred around 1pm local time.
“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” she said.
“The suspect rammed his car into two of our officers, and then hit the north barricade barrier. At such time the suspect exited the vehicle with a knife in hand,” she added.
Pittman said the suspect did not respond to verbal commands and was shot by police after lunging towards them. The suspect, who has died, was later identified by several US media outlets as Noah Green, a 25-year-old man who had recounted his personal struggles in a series of posts on social media and was a follower of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of Nation of Islam.
The attack against US Capitol Police on Friday comes less than three months after the January 6 assault on Congress by pro-Trump supporters trying to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. One Capitol Police officer was killed after sustaining injuries during the January assault, while two more Capitol Police officers who responded to the attack died by suicide in the following days.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for US Capitol Police after the events of January 6 and now the events that have occurred here today,” Pittman said. “So I ask that you keep our US Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The officer who died on Friday was named as William Evans, who had served with the Capitol Police since 2003 and was a member of its first responders unit.
The chief of Washington’s Metropolitan Police, Robert Contee, said his force was looking into the motive of the “senseless act” and added there did not appear to be a continuing threat.
Merrick Garland, the US attorney-general, said US Capitol Police would “give their all to defend the seat of our democracy” and said the FBI was assisting the Washington police with the investigation.
President Joe Biden had just arrived at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, when the attack occurred. Congress is on recess, so many lawmakers and their staffers were not around at the time of the attack.
In a White House statement, Biden said he was receiving regular updates on the incident, thanked the forces and emergency services for their rapid response and expressed his condolences to the Evans family. He ordered the American flag to be flown at half-mast. “We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it,” the US president said.
The District of Columbia National Guard deployed an Immediate Reaction Force in response to Friday’s attack, providing a much faster response in support of the US Capitol Police than the military reserve did during the January 6 assault. It did not disclose any further details but said none of its officers had been hurt.
The IRF was already stationed at the Capitol among 2,300 National Guard personnel who have continued to guard the capital since security was increased after January 6.
Immediately after Friday’s attack, members of Congress expressed gratitude towards the US Capitol Police, but dismay at the latest episode of violence against the US legislature.
“It has become clear the Capitol is increasingly seen as a target. In that context I believe it is important that we review all security provisions thoroughly and take responsive measures that should prove necessary,” said Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator from California.
Credit: Source link