A man rammed a car into two Capitol Police officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday afternoon before being shot to death by authorities when he got out of the vehicle while holding what appeared to be a knife, two law enforcement officials said on Friday.
Both Capitol Police officers were taken to the hospital, and one of the officers died as a result of undisclosed injuries, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters at a brief news conference. She also confirmed earlier reports that the suspect had died after being transported to hospital.
Police did not release names of the three individuals involved pending notification of next of kin, although they did say that the suspect was not known to them.
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 Jan. 6, when a mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicnick was among five people at the Capitol who died on that day, killed in circumstances that are still not entirely clear.
The crash and shooting on Friday happened at a checkpoint near the Capitol as Congress is on recess.
Congress not in session, president away at Camp David
The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting and staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings.
The crash occurred about 91 metres 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.
Video posted online showed a dark-coloured sedan crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police dog inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.
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.
Members of Congress react:
Thankful for the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police and the National Guard who are responding to the scene at the Capitol. Keeping all those in the area in my prayers.
Please join me in prayer for the two Capitol Police officers and their families. They reacted quickly and bravely, as did all the other first responders at the scene.<br><br>The whole country is pulling for them right now.