A U.S. Capitol Police officer died and another was badly injured Friday when a man rammed a car into them at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol, authorities said.
Two law enforcement officials told NBC News that, after striking the officers, the driver jumped out of the car with a knife and was fatally shot by Capitol police.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman confirmed Officer William "Billy" Evans died of injuries sustained in the attack.
Statement on the Loss of USCP Colleague Officer William "Billy" Evans: https://t.co/JMAEbTcbAp pic.twitter.com/DPvkAv5ptO— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) April 2, 2021
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Two law enforcement officials say Evans was not killed by friendly fire or a stray round. D.C. police have yet to release a cause of his death but have ruled out a gunshot.
The injured officer is in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries, Capitol Police said.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today," Pittman said.
"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," President Joe Biden said in a statement released by the White House Friday evening. "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."
Four senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation said the suspect is 25-year-old Noah Green from Indiana, NBC News reported.
The attack happened at the North Barricade vehicle access point on Constitution Avenue.
"The suspect rammed his car into two of our officers, and then hit the North Barricade barrier. At such time, the suspect exited the vehicle with a knife in hand," Pittman said.
Pittman said officers engaged the suspect, who did not respond to verbal commands. The suspect then started lunging toward Capitol police officers, at which point they opened fire on the suspect, Pittman said.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said there no longer appeared to be an ongoing threat.
"It does not appear to be terrorism-related, but obviously we'll continue to investigate to see if there is some type of nexus along those lines," Contee said.
Law-enforcement sources said Green recently lived in Virginia, NBC News reported. In postings on social media, he let his friends and family know 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 due to what the SPLC calls “the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders.”
The posts 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.
Several streets in the area were shut down but were reopened after 9 p.m.:
- Constitution Avenue between Second Street NE and First Street NW
- First Street between Constitution Avenue NE and Independence Avenue SE
- East Capitol Street between First Street and Second Street
A lockdown of the U.S. Capitol complex has been lifted.
During the lockdown, those outside were told to "seek cover," according to an email from U.S. Capitol Police. Those inside were permitted to move around within the buildings and underground between buildings.
NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell reported from inside the lockdown perimeter that a helicopter landed on the east front of the Capitol during the emergency response.
Caldwell posted video of the scene, showing multiple first responder vehicles. At least two ambulances blocked an intersection in front of the Capitol, and the helicopter was audible.
The National Guard guarded the barricade where the crime scene is located. By Saturday morning, crews were seen putting concrete Jersey barriers behind the existing fence.
A police procession escorted Evans' body from The George Washington University Hospital to the medical examiner's office.
Evans had been a member of the Capitol Police force for 18 years.
Flags at the White House and the U.S. Capitol were ordered to be flown at half-staff due to Officer Evans' death.
"Today, America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "He is a martyr for our democracy."
Friday's incident came less than three months after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Officer Brian Sicknick died at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 due to the injuries he suffered during the Jan. 6 riot, according to U.S. Capitol Police. Two other officers who responded to the riot took their own lives.
"This is a tragic situation that adds to a very difficult year for our membership," the Capitol Police union said in a statement.