Officer dead in attack on U.S. Capitol
Last updated 4/2/2021 at 2:15pm
A U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another one wounded after a knife-wielding man rammed his car into them on Friday before being fatally shot by other cops, law enforcement officials said.
The unidentified suspect, driving a dark blue sedan, crashed into the officers near a barricade on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol shortly after 1 p.m., acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters at the scene.
Both officers were rushed to hospitals, and one of them later died, according to Pittman.
“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Pittman said, choking back tears.
After smashing his car into the barricade, the suspect exited the vehicle “with a knife in hand” and “started to run aggressively” toward a line of police officers, Pittman said.
Officers opened fire, striking the suspect several times, Pittman said. He later died at a hospital as well, the chief added.
Police did not immediately divulge a motive for the attack or identify the slain officer.
Friday’s incident came less than three months after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in a bloody attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election victory.
Five people died in the Jan. 6 attack, including a police officer, as far-right insurrectionists stampeded through the halls of Congress, inspired by former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Another two Capitol Police officers who responded to the pro-Trump riot committed suicide days later.
The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have for months voiced concern about the possibility of more attacks in the wake of Jan. 6. Domestic extremists across the ideological spectrum were emboldened by the Jan. 6 assault and have expressed interest in carrying out more violence, according to the FBI.
Pittman said the weeks since Jan. 6 have been “extremely difficult.”
“But we will get through this,” she said.
Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when Friday’s attack occurred.
The Capitol complex was placed on lockdown during Friday’s attack, and an alarming message blared on loudspeakers inside the building telling staff and others that they could not enter or exit. Neither the Senate nor the House were in session, and most lawmakers had already left town for Easter recess.
Military and law enforcement agencies have remained on high alert since Jan. 6, and video taken by reporters at the Capitol showed National Guard troops mobilizing quickly after Friday’s incident.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who was back home in Brooklyn when the attack unfolded, said he was devastated upon learning of the officer’s death.
“I’m heartbroken for the officer killed today defending our Capitol and for his family,” Schumer tweeted. “I’m praying for the officer injured and his family. We’re in their debt. We thank the Capitol Police, National Guard, & first responders for all they do to protect the Capitol and those inside.