• Sat. May 8th, 2021

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U.S. Capitol Police officer dies after attacker rammed car into checkpoint; suspect also dead

A U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured after a man drove a car into a security barricade at the Capitol complex on Friday, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said.

The driver was shot after jumping out of the car with a knife and failing to respond to verbal commands and “lunging” at the officers, Pittman said. The suspect was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.

Four senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation identified the suspect as a 25-year-old man from Indiana, Noah Green.

The fallen officer was identified as William Evans, who was known as Billy. Evans was an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police, and a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit, Pittman said.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans.Twitter/CapitolPolice

The extent of the injuries to the second officer were not clear. The Capitol Police said in a statement early Friday evening that the officer “is in stable and non-life threatening condition.” Earlier, President Joe Biden had said the officer was “fighting for his life.”

Pittman said, “I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol police and their families in your prayers. This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol police after the events of Jan. 6, and now the events that have occurred here today,” Pittman said.

Robert Contee, acting chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, said that his department would take over the investigation. “It does not appear to be terrorism-related,” Contee said.

Law enforcement sources said Green recently lived in Virginia. In postings on social media, he let his friends and family know that the past few years have been “tough” and the past few months “tougher.”

“I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey,” he wrote on his now-deleted Facebook page.

Green’s page featured several recent postings that reference the teachings of the Nation of Islam, a Black separatist movement that does not follow the traditional teachings of Islam, and its leader Louis Farrakhan. Nation of Islam has been classified as a “designated hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of what the SPLC calls “deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders.”

The postings do not indicate why Green, who is Black, would target the Capitol. He posted about the “end times” in one post, and in another on March 17, warned about the “last days of our world as we know it.”

Green’s final post on Facebook, from March 21, was a YouTube video called “the crucifixion of Michael Jackson,” a 150-minute sermon in which Farrakhan defends Michael Jackson.

Noah Green.via Facebook

Contee and Pittman said at a news conference about two hours after the attack that the suspect was not someone previously known to their departments. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said later Friday that the FBI’s Washington field office would be “assisting the Metropolitan Police Department with their investigation of this tragic attack.”

The attempted breach happened at the north barricade vehicle access point around 1 p.m. ET, officials said. The Capitol complex was locked down for about two hours after the incident.

Biden ordered flags be flown at half-staff on all federal buildings until April 6 in honor of Evans and the other injured officer.

“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,” the president said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the Capitol be flown at half-staff in honor of the fallen officer, who she called “a martyr for our democracy.”

“May it be a comfort to the family of Officer Evans that so many mourn with them and pray for them at this sad time,” Pelosi said.

Capitol Police officers near a car that crashed into a barrier on Capitol Hill on April 2, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Congress is in spring recess for the week, so lawmakers had returned home and were not working in the building.

A heavy law-enforcement presence quickly descended upon the complex, including dozens of National Guard troops. Two stretchers were seen being taken out of an ambulance and a helicopter landed on the east front of Capitol.

A message sent to congressional offices said, “Due to an external security threat,” there was “no entry or exit is permitted at this time. You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover.”

Security at the Capitol has been heightened with extra safety measures and personnel in place since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the complex during the Jan. 6 electoral vote count before a joint session of Congress.

About 140 officers from the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police departments were injured during the assault. One officer, Brian Sicknick, died as a result of injuries during the riot, and two other officers died by suicide in the weeks after the violence.

Lauren Egan, Tom Winter, Dartunorro Clark, Ben Collins, Shamar Walters, Suzanne Ciechalski and Jareen Imam contributed.