A Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured after a man rammed his car into a security barrier outside the United States Capitol and then got out of the vehicle and lunged towards the officers with a knife, setting off a major security scare nearly three months after the January 6 insurrection by pro-Trump supporters.
The 25-year-old suspect, identified as Noah Green, was shot dead by the Capitol Police.
"The incident happened around 1.02 pm on Friday (local time), when the suspect rammed his car into two of our officers and then hit the north barricade barrier. The suspect exited the vehicle with a knife in hand," Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters at a news conference.
At that time, the Capitol Police officers engaged that suspect, she said.
"He did not respond to verbal commands. The suspect did start lunging toward US Capitol Police officers, at which US Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect. At this time, the suspect has been pronounced deceased," Pittman said.
Two US Capitol Police officers were transported to two different hospitals. One of them succumbed to his injuries, she said.
It was the second line-of-duty death in three months at the US Capitol Police department which bore the brunt of the unprecedented January 6 insurrection.
President Joe Biden said that he and the First Lady 'were heartbroken' to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the US Capitol grounds, which killed William Evans of the US 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," he said, adding that he has been receiving ongoing briefings from his Homeland Security Advisor, and will be getting further updates as the investigation proceeds.
Biden ordered that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and all federal buildings in honour of the deceased police officer.
"Today, in an inexplicable act of violence, a brave US Capitol police officer was killed in the line of duty, while another officer fights for his life.
"Officer William Evans made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people.
"Officer Evans, his family, and all those who knew him are in our hearts and prayers. We mourn with them during this difficult time," Vice President Kamala Harris said.
'On this Good Friday, considered to be the saddest day of the year for some people of faith, our grief is deepened by the death of US Capitol police officer William 'Billy' Evans,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a dear colleague letter.
At a news conference, Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said that investigation was on and at this time it does not appear to be an ongoing threat.
"Obviously, we're in the very early stages of our investigation. We need to obviously understand the motivation behind this senseless act," he said.
"It does not appear to be terrorism related," he said.
Pittman said that the suspect, Green, was not known to the police before Friday's attack. A review of Green's social media shows he posted in the weeks prior that he had lost his job and suffered medical ailments, and said he believed the federal government was targeting him with 'mind control'.
Less than two hours before he was shot and killed, Green posted a number of Instagram stories on an account that appears to belong to him, including links to other Instagram videos of Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking, CNN reported.
'The U.S. Government is the #1 enemy of Black people!' a caption on one video read.
In another post on the Instagram account, Green wrote last week that he believed Farrakhan had saved him 'after the terrible afflictions I have suffered presumably by the CIA and FBI, government agencies of the United States of America'.
Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, who was stuck in the car when the incident happened, said the incident brought back memories of the insurrection on January 6.
"In had just stepped out of my Cannon office, and I was going to get Chinese food. And when I came back, I had a frantic call from someone on my staff saying, get away, get away.
"There's an incident. And, honestly, it did bring back memories of January 6," he told CNN in a live interview from his car.
Khanna said that he talked to one of the officers, and they said, go into your car and everything is shut down.
"So, I have just been in my car. And there are members. I mean, I'm heading back to my district early next week, but there are a few people still here. And it's really sad, because I had thought, once the barriers were removed, that we were moving back to some sense of normalcy.
"But this just shows the level of risk that there still is, and really sad that this is happening at the Capitol," Khanna said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Metropolitan Police Department with their investigation of this tragic attack.
Former president Donald Trump faced the charge of incitement of insurrection over the deadly January 6 assault of the US Capitol by his supporters.
The incident left five people, including a police officer, dead.