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, law enforcement officials said.
The officer killed in a violent incident near the Capitol on Friday was William Evans, who has been on the force for 18 years, Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement.
The suspect died at a hospital, officials said. Both officers were hospitalized, and one of them “succumbed to his injuries,” Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green, of Newport News, Virginia. Investigators were digging into his background and examining whether he had any mental health history as they tried to discern a motive. They were also working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.
According to media reports, Green spoke on Facebook about the "end times", the anti-Christ, and government "mind control". He also said he was unemployed after leaving his job, "partly due to afflictions," and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly promoted antisemitism.
Green's brother told the Washington Post that his sibling struggled with drug use and paranoia and his family worried about his mental state.
Facebook said in a statement that it removed the suspect's accounts from Facebook and Instagram and were in contact with law enforcement.
Brendan Green told the Washington Post his brother had been violently ill on Thursday evening at the Virginia apartment they shared, and later sent him a text message saying that he planned to become homeless.
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.
“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote. “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.”
Authorities said that there was no longer an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the January 6 riot.
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.
Five people died in the January 6 riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off insurrectionists who supported former President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the election. Authorities installed a tall perimeter fence around the Capitol and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they have begun pulling back some of the emergency measures in recent weeks.
While there was no immediate connection apparent between January 6 and Friday, the incident underscores that the building and campus remain potential targets for violence. It occurred about 100 yards (91 meters) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol.
Rep. Tim Ryan, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch that oversees the Capitol Police, says he and other lawmakers have spoken to Israeli officials about the measures they take to secure the Israeli parliament.
The security checkpoint is typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, but lawmakers are away for recess. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed.
Capitol Police said that someone rammed a vehicle into two of its officers. The law enforcement officials told the AP that 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.
The officials initially said the suspect was being taken to the hospital in critical condition. 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.
The officials could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting and staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video showed National 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 inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.
President 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.