(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - One U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured Friday when a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol.
The Capitol Police said the suspect exited the car with a knife in his hand and lunged at the officers. Capitol police then fired at him. The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Noah Green. Police are looking into his background for clues to a possible motive.
The Washington Post spoke with Green’s brother Brendan, who said he had been concerned about his brother’s mental health for some time. The siblings shared an apartment in Virginia. Brendan said Noah sent him a text Thursday after leaving their residence that said, “I’m sorry but I’m just going to go and live and be homeless.”
Newsweek was able to capture some of the suspect’s Facebook postings before they were taken down by the social media giant. One posting revealed that Green was an admirer of Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI). “The Minister is here to save me and the rest of humanity, even if it means facing death,” the posting read.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group focusing on civil rights and public interest litigation, has classified NOI as a hate group.
Police identified the officer who died in the attack as William “Billy” Evans. He was a member of the force’s first responders unit and an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police.
“Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the U.S. Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the U.S. Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday afternoon.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Biden, who was briefed on the attack, is spending the Easter weekend at Camp David, a presidential retreat in Maryland. He ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff.
Friday’s incident happened at a vehicle checkpoint on Constitution Avenue, on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol Complex.
The attack “does not appear to be terrorism-related, but obviously we will continue to investigate,” Robert Contee, the acting chief of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, told reporters Friday.
The Washington police, with assistance from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, will take over the investigation into Friday’s attack.
“Today, America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “He is a martyr for our democracy.”
In a tweet Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Praying for the United States Capitol Police officers who were attacked at the Capitol. We are still learning what's taken place. Grateful to all the USCP and first responders who are on the scene.”
Praying for the United States Capitol Police officers who were attacked at the Capitol. We are still learning what’s taken place. Grateful to all the USCP and first responders who are on the scene.— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) April 2, 2021
The U.S. Capitol has been surrounded by security fencing since the January 6 riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The pro-Trump rioters were attempting to prevent the counting of electoral college votes for Joe Biden, who won the November presidential election.
The outer ring of fencing was taken down just this week, although an inner ring of fencing remains around the U.S. Capitol building.
There are slightly fewer than 2,200 U.S. National Guard troops providing additional security at the U.S. Capitol Complex since that riot, which left one U.S. Capitol Police officer dead and many others injured.
The Congress is in recess and most lawmakers are away.