Capitol Hill was on lockdown Friday afternoon due to an “external security threat” later revealed to be caused by a knife-wielding suspect who rammed his car into two police officers. One officer died from his injuries, and the suspect was fatally shot by police.
UPDATE – 4:55 p.m. EST – Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman identified the slain officer as William ‘Billy’ Evans, an 18-year veteran officer with the Capitol Police department.
NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams said multiple law enforcement sources identified the suspect to him as 25-year-old Noah Green from Indiana. The sources told Williams that Green’s Facebook page listed himself as a “follower of the Nation of Islam” and lamented over recently losing his job. These claims have not yet been verified by police officials, however.
President Joe Biden released the following statement on the attack:
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. We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.
I have been receiving ongoing briefings from my Homeland Security Advisor, and will be getting further updates as the investigation proceeds.
I want to express the nation’s gratitude to the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force, and others who quickly responded to this attack. As we mourn the loss of yet another courageous Capitol Police officer, I have ordered that the White House flags be lowered to half-mast.
UPDATE – 3:00 p.m. EST – Chief Pittman confirmed that one Capitol police officer and the suspect have both succumbed to their injuries.
Pittman said at approximately 1:02 p.m., the suspect rammed his car into two Capitol officers and into a barricade wall. The suspect then exited his vehicle with a knife and began lunging at officers, did not respond to verbal commands, and was shot by officers.
“It is with a very heavy, heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Pittman told reporters, without providing details on the second officer’s condition.
Pittman added that the suspect was not known to local police and there was no indication that the incident could have been a targeted attack on a member of Congress.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee also said the suspect did not appear to be known to law enforcement, and the incident “does not appear to be terrorism-related.”
Capitol Police had confirmed at 1:26 p.m. EST that a suspect “rammed a vehicle into two [US Capitol Police] officers. Suspect is in custody. Both officers are injured. All three have been transported to the hospital.”
Officers later told Fox News that the suspect, who had exited the car with a knife, was shot by police and died from his injuries.
Washington Post correspondent Aaron Davis previously tweeted, “Suspect has been shot. Two officers appear in critical condition,” he said.
One video by Fox News Congressional Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich showed a car smashed into a barrier outside the Capitol, and police surrounding what appears to be an individual on the ground.
Heinrich previously tweeted, “We are on lockdown. Loudspeaker announcing in Russell Senate Office external security threat, stay away from windows, do not enter or exit. Can hear sirens.”
Video shared by CQ-Roll Call reporter Lindsey McPherson showed National Guard troops responding to the scene.
Additional video from local NBC 4 reporter Mark Segraves shows National Guard troops forming a barrier with shields near barricades surrounding the Capitol.
NBC Correspondent Jake Sherman shared video of a helicopter landing in front of the Capitol. “This is a helicopter literally landing on the east front of the Capitol. I’ve never in my life seen this before,” he said in the video.
Reuters Foreign Policy Correspondent Idrees Ali tweeted a photo showing a police presence outside the Capitol building. “A huge amount of police cars and ambulances are racing towards the Capitol building, with armed officers blocking off the exits,” Ali tweeted.
Journalist Saqib Ul Islam said the U.S. Capitol was evacuated.