WASHINGTON (AP/NewsNation Now) — A Capitol police officer is dead after a car rammed into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday afternoon. The driver got out of the vehicle while appearing to brandish a knife before being shot and killed by authorities, police said.
The two Capitol Police officers and the driver were taken to the hospital. One officer and the suspect have since died, police said in a Friday afternoon media briefing.
The crash and shooting happened at a checkpoint near the Capitol as Congress is on recess. It comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.
Capitol Police said that the driver rammed a vehicle into two of its officers. Law enforcement officials said the driver then got out of the car with what appeared to be a knife. It’s unclear which member of law enforcement shot the suspect.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the suspect stabbed one of the officers.
One of the officers who was injured was taken by police car to the hospital; the other was being transported by emergency medical crews, the officials said.
“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.”
The U.S. Capitol Police identified the fallen officer as USCP Colleague Officer William “Billy” Evans.
USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman released a statement in the wake of Evans’ death.
“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant. Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years. He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman
It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Evans was the seventh Capitol Police member to die in the line of duty in the department’s history, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks deaths of law enforcement. In addition, two officers, one from Capitol Police and another from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, died by suicide following the Jan. 6 attack.
The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting and staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video and photos showed National Guard troops mobilizing near the area of the crash.
The incident occurred about 100 yards (91 meters) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed as the Capitol has started to open up after the Jan. 6 riots.
The security checkpoint is typically used by senators and staff on weekdays. Congress is currently on recess.
President Joe Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the incident occurred. As customary, he was traveling with a member of the National Security Council Staff who was expected to brief him on the incident.
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.
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.
NewsNation reporter Alexandra Limon took video from the scene that can be viewed in the player below.
Stay with 8News for updates.