SECOND ATTACK

Police officer dies in attack at US Capitol

Car crashed into security barrier before driver lunged towards the cops with a knife.

In Summary

• The officers opened fire and the suspect was shot dead.

• Authorities said the attack, which came three months after January's deadly Capitol riots, did not appear to be terrorism-related.

Law enforcement officers hold up a U.S. Capitol Police jacket at the site after a car rammed a police barricade outside the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Erin Scott
Law enforcement officers hold up a U.S. Capitol Police jacket at the site after a car rammed a police barricade outside the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Erin Scott

An attack at the US Capitol complex in Washington DC has left one police officer dead and another in hospital with injuries.

A car crashed into a security barrier before the driver lunged towards the officers with a knife, police said.

The officers opened fire and the suspect was shot dead.

Authorities said the attack, which came three months after January's deadly Capitol riots, did not appear to be terrorism-related.

"Whether the attack was at law enforcement, or whoever, we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of it and we'll do that," Robert Contee, the acting chief of Washington DC's Metropolitan Police Department, said at a news conference.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said it was "with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries".

In a later statement, she named the officer as William "Billy" Evans, who had been a member of the Capitol Police for 18 years and was part of the department's first responders unit.

"Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers," she said.

CNN producer Kristin Wilson described him as "the kindest person".

Two law enforcement sources involved in the investigation told BBC partner CBS News that the suspect in the attack was 25-year-old Noah Green from Indiana.

They said that no prior information about him had been found on any police databases.

In a post from mid-March on a now-deleted Facebook page, Green wrote that he had recently left his job, "partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey". He added he had been suffering the "side effects of drugs I was intaking unknowingly" and wrote extensively of his interest in the black nationalist religious organisation, Nation of Islam.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that the page belonged to Green.

"After this horrific event, our thoughts are with the Capitol Police and their loved ones," the company said in a statement. "We have designated the incident under our Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, which means we have removed the suspect's accounts from Facebook and Instagram, and are removing any content that praises, supports, or represents the attack or the suspect. We are in contact with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation."

An increased security presence remains around the Capitol building, where the US Congress sits.

Congress is currently in recess, meaning the majority of politicians were not at the Capitol complex at the time of the attack.

What do we know about the attack?

Shortly after 13:00 local time (18:00 GMT) the Capitol Police alert system sent an email to lawmakers and their staff ordering them to stay away from exterior windows and doors due to a threat. Anyone outside was instructed to seek cover.

At that time, a man driving a blue sedan had rammed the car into two officers standing at the North Barricade, according to police.

He exited the vehicle and ran towards the officers - at least one of whom drew a weapon and shot the suspect. The officers were then transported to a hospital, one in an ambulance and one in a police cruiser.

Footage of the scene showed a helicopter flying overhead and what appeared to be two people on stretchers being moved into ambulances.

Onlookers were told to clear the area.

Police said the suspect died due to his injuries at 13:30 local time. Chief Contee told reporters the suspect appeared to act alone.

The FBI's Washington Field Office said it was providing support to the Capitol Police.