A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife. It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the suspect stabbed one of the officers. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”
Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit.
Authorities said there wasn’t an ongoing threat, though the Capitol was put on lockdown for a time as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the Jan. 6 riot.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green. Investigators were digging into his 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.
According to Green’s Facebook page, he was a follower of the radical group the Nation of Islam.
“Peace, friends, family, enemies, and the like,” Green wrote on Facebook in March. “To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher. I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.”
Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar. But the attack underscored that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and his wife were heartbroken to learn of the attack and expressed condolences to Evans’ family. He directed flags at the White House to be lowered to half staff.
The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most were away from the building for the current recess. The attack occurred about 100 yards (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 heard three shots ring out.
“Today, once again, these heroes risked their lives to protect our Capitol and our country, with the same extraordinary selflessness and spirit of service seen on January 6,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire House, we are profoundly grateful.”
The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown for a time after Friday’s shooting, and staffers were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video showed Guard troops mobilizing near the area of the crash.
Video posted online showed a dark colored sedan crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police K-9 dog inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.