One police officer was killed and another was seriously injured in Washington DC Friday after being rammed by a vehicle just after 1 pm local time.
The driver, who got off the car wielding a knife, was gunned down by law enforcement officers and eventually died at a hospital.
The police officer fallen in the line of duty was identified as William Billy Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department's first responders unit. It was the second such casualty this year after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
US President Joseph Biden said in a statement that he and his wife were “heartbroken” by the attack. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss,” Biden said. “We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it,” he added.
Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the attack occurred.
Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman asked the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in their prayers.
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, she added, although there was also no immediate link between Friday's incident and the Jan. 6 riot.
A tall barbed-wire fence that was erected around the entire Capitol complex following the insurrection was dismantled only two weeks ago, as the threat level appeared to be subsiding.
Robert Contee, the Acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, said the incident did not appear to be terror-related and that the suspect had not been known to police.
The Capitol went into lockdown after the incident, but the building was largely empty given Congress is not in session and the attack occurred on Good Friday, local time.
The attacker has been identified as Noah Green, a 25-year-old from Indiana. In social media postings leading up to Friday's events, he had said he had lost his job, suffered medical ailments and was being targeted with “mind control. On Facebook, he also claimed to be a devout follower of Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist religious group.
“We are devastated to share the sad news that one of our officers involved in this afternoon’s incident passed away,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. Evans, a Capitol Police officer since 2003, died at a hospital from injuries sustained in the attack.
Most of the 535 members of Congress were away on recess when the attack happened. National Guard soldiers and police with riot shields responded to the incident which caused a two-hour lockdown for thousands of congressional staff working at the Capitol complex.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-mast following the incident and vowed there would be “a swift and comprehensive investigation into this heinous attack.”
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick officer had died in the January revolt.