1 officer killed, 1 injured in car ramming attack at street barricade outside U.S. Capitol
One U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured when a man rammed a vehicle into them at a barricade outside the Capitol building on Friday. The suspect was shot by police after he got out of the car and lunged at officers. He died later at a nearby hospital.
Officer William "Billy" Evans, an 18-year veteran of the police force, was identified as the officer killed on Friday. The Capitol Police said the other officer was in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Law enforcement sources told CBS News the suspect was identified as 25-year-old Noah R. Green, of Indiana, who had not been on law enforcement's radar.
Green, an African American man, was not on any watch lists and appeared to have acted alone, according to a federal law enforcement official and a Capitol Hill source.
Police said Green rammed his car into the officers at 1:02 p.m. and then exited the car and lunged at them. The officers then fired at the suspect, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said at a news conference Friday. Multiple sources said one of the officers was stabbed in the face, but it was unclear which officer was stabbed.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Capitol Police sent an initial alert to congressional staffers, warning them of an "external security threat." Within about an hour and a half, police sent another alert saying the threat had been "neutralized."
In a statement, President Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden "were heartbroken" to learn of the attack, adding that he was receiving briefings on the incident from his homeland security adviser. Mr. Biden, who was at Camp David for the weekend, ordered the flags at the White House to be lowered to half staff.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues that she was ordering flags at the Capitol to be lowered to half-staff as well.
"At a time of such suffering, no words are adequate. However, I hope it is a comfort to Officer Evans' family and the family of the other Officer harmed in the line of duty that so many are heartbroken and grateful for the officers' brave protection of the Capitol," Pelosi said. "May it be a comfort to Officer Evans and his family that America's flag flies at half-staff in his honor and in honor of the sacrifice of the entire Capitol Police force, and that the president has designated this honor for the White House and all federal buildings."
Capitol Police said that the Evans family is asking for privacy at this time.
The incident came nearly three months after rioters overran the U.S. Capitol in a deadly attack on January 6. The riot resulted in the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Two Capitol Police officers also died by suicide after the attack, and dozens of officers were injured.
The union representing the officers called Friday's attack "a tragic situation that adds to a very difficult year for our membership."
In a statement provided to CBS News, Sicknick's girlfriend, Sandra Garza, said her "heart aches" for Evans' family and the Capitol Police.
"Sadly, I understand the horror, shock and immense pain the Evans' family is feeling and experiencing," Garza said. "I can't believe this is happening again, and so soon after Brian and Officer Liebengood's death. Capitol police have been through so much and have barely begun the healing process since the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. I am hopeful that the other officer who was injured will make a full recovery and be reunited with their family as soon as possible."
Following the January attack, fencing was erected around the Capitol complex and thousands of National Guard troops were sent to Washington. That security fencing was taken down last week, although a layer of inner fencing around the Capitol building itself remains in place.
The barricade where the incident occurred is a checkpoint on the Senate side of the Capitol. It was put in place after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to protect the Capitol from potential car bombings, noted Congressman Tim Ryan, who chairs the committee that oversees the Capitol Police.
Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Chris Van Hollen and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation in March to prevent federal funding from being used for permanent fencing around the Capitol. However, the incident on Friday may delay efforts to remove the inner barrier around the Capitol. Ryan said that lawmakers would be "reviewing everything" after the attack.
"I think we'll be reviewing everything at this point, including the fencing, and the big concern I know for a lot of people are these kind of lone wolf attacks," Ryan said in a press conference on Friday. "The fence is a disturbance, it's an eyesore, it sucks. Nobody wants it there. But the question is, is the environment safe enough to be able to take it down? In the meantime, maybe that fence can prevent some of these things from happening."
There were fewer people than normal at the Capitol on Friday as Congress is in recess; most lawmakers are in their home states. Other congressional staff, as well as reporters and police, were in their offices.
Andres Triay, Michael Kaplan, Kris Van Cleave and Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting.
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