A U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured when a suspect rammed his vehicle into them at a barricade outside the Capitol on Friday. The suspect was fatally shot by police after he exited the vehicle and lunged at officers, police said.
Police said the suspect did not appear to be known by law enforcement. He was an American male who was not on any watch lists and appeared to be a single actor, according to a federal law enforcement official and a Capitol Hill source.
“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said at a news conference Friday.
The suspect rammed his car into the officers at 1:02 p.m., then exited his car and lunged at the officers, who then “fired upon the suspect,” Pittman said. According to multiple sources, one of the officers was stabbed in the face. It’s not clear whether this was the officer who did not survive.
Soon after 1 p.m., Capitol Police sent an initial alert to congressional staffers, warning them of an “external security threat.” Within about an hour and a half, police sent another alert saying that the threat had been “neutralized.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff because of “the death of a U.S. Capitol Police Officer in the of duty today,” her spokesman tweeted Friday afternoon.
The incident comes nearly three months after rioters overran the building in a deadly attack on January 6. The resulted in the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Two Capitol Police officers also died by suicide after the attack, and dozens of officers were injured.
After the January 6 rioting at the Capitol, fencing was erected around the Capitol complex, and thousands of National Guard troops were sent to Washington. That security fencing was, although a layer of inner fencing around the Capitol building itself remains in place.
The barricade where the incident occurred is a checkpoint on the Senate side of the Capitol and was in place before temporary security fencing was erected. There were fewer people at the Capitol Friday since Congress is in recess; most lawmakers are in their home states. However, other congressional staff, as well as reporters and police, were in their offices.
Andres Triay, Michael Kaplan and Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting.