National Guard troops stand guard along Constitution Avenue as law enforcement responds to a security incident near the U.S. Capitol on April 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Capitol was locked down after a person reportedly rammed a vehicle into two Capitol Hill police officers. A suspect was apprehended. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON—One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement.
The suspect in the vehicle was shot and killed, said Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, during a press conference.
The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years. He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Pittman said.
Police said there did not appear to be a larger threat to the Capitol, though the investigation is continuing and it’s unclear what the suspect’s motive might have been. Members of Congress are on recess so the building is relatively empty.
The incident at the Capitol follows the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a pro-Trump mob descended on the building, leaving five people dead—including a Capitol Police officer—and hundreds injured. Added fencing that’s surrounded the perimeter of the Capitol complex since then was taken down just over a week ago.
Some National Guard troops also remain to protect the Capitol.
Heartbroken to hear an officer was tragically killed protecting the Capitol today. Join me in praying for their family, and for a full recovery for the other officer injured.
Today—and every day—I am grateful for the bravery and sacrifice of the United States Capitol Police.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 2, 2021
Pittman said the person who drove into the barricade at the Capitol’s north entrance got out with a knife in hand, did not respond to verbal commands and lunged toward police, who “fired upon the suspect.”
The names of the injured officer and the suspect have not been released.
“Please keep the Capitol Police and first responders in your prayers as we try to understand the situation unfolding at the Capitol right now,” Rep. Peter Meijer, (R-Mich.), tweeted.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), said that the Capitol will fly flags at half staff due to the death of the police officer.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) who credits Capitol Police for saving his life after he was shot and seriously injured in 2017 said on Twitter that he was “heartbroken” when he heard of Friday’s incident at the Capitol. “Heartbroken to hear an officer was tragically killed protecting the Capitol today,” he wrote. “Join me in praying for their family, and for a full recovery for the other officer injured. Today—and every day—I am grateful for the bravery and sacrifice of the United States Capitol Police.”
“I’m heartbroken for the family and loved ones of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William Evans who was killed today defending our Capitol,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat. “And I’m am praying for the other injured USCP officer and his family. We are in their debt.”
President Joe Biden left earlier in the day for the presidential retreat at Camp David in northern Maryland. He said in a statement late Friday afternoon he has ordered White House flags be flown at half mast and has been getting regular briefings from the Homeland Security Advisor about the investigation.
“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,” Biden said. “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.”
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