A driver showed up on Friday (2) with a car over a US congressional security fence, which was locked out as a safety measure. Two Capitol policemen guarding the entrance were hit by the dark blue sedan, which then hit a blockade.
After the collision, the driver exited the vehicle with a knife in his hand and attempted to run towards the guards, who fired. The perpetrator of the attack was rescued, but died soon after.
The motivation for the attack is under investigation, police said, and the suspect is a 25-year-old man named Noah Green. The affected officers were taken to hospital and one of them died. The victim, William “Billy” Evans, had worked for 18 years in the Capitol Police, and is the fourth Congressional agent to die this year.
The first died on January 6, during the invasion of the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, while the other two committed suicide after defending Congress that day.
US President Joe Biden said he was “heartbroken” when the officer died. In a statement, Biden said times on the U.S. Capitol “have been tough” and that he and his wife, First Lady Jill, were devastated to learn of Friday’s attack.
“We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Constable Evans and to all who mourn his loss,” the President wrote. “I want to express the country’s gratitude to the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force and others who responded swiftly to this attack.”
Biden said he was monitoring the situation, via information from the Department of Homeland Security, and ordered White House flags to stay at half mast as a sign of respect. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Evans a “martyr of our democracy” and also ordered the half-masting of flags in Congress.
Due to the incident, access to the Capitol and neighboring avenues was closed. Construction workers have been ordered not to leave, and there is a heavy presence of police, helicopters and soldiers in the area, as well as curious people, who have been ordered to leave.
The congress is suspended due to the Easter holidays. For this reason, the majority of parliamentarians were not in their offices. Biden was not even in Washington at the time of the attack. He had visited the presidential country house at Camp David a few hours earlier.
Before the affair of this Friday, the Capitol had already been the scene of another episode of violence this year. The seat of the U.S. Legislative Assembly was invaded in January by crowds of Trump supporters seeking to forcibly reverse the Republican candidate’s defeat at the polls.
Five people died on this occasion. After that day, the US Congress was protected by more external barriers, which began to be removed last week.