A suspect has been shot dead and a police officer has been killed after a car rammed into a barricade near the US Capitol in Washington DC, prompting a lockdown at the complex on high alert since January’s deadly riots.
Four senior law enforcement officials have told NBC News the suspect was 25-year-old Noah Green, from Covington, Virginia.
Capitol Police have confirmed the officer who died was William ‘Billy’ Evans.
Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the force, said the suspect jumped out of his vehicle brandishing a knife after he drove at Officer Evans and another officer at the barricade at around 1pm local time (6pm UK time) on Friday.
She continued: “The suspect did start lunging towards US Capitol police officers, at which time US Capitol police officers fired upon the suspect.
“At this time the suspect has been pronounced deceased.
“Two US Capitol police officers were transported to two different hospitals and it is with a very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries.”
The other officer, who has not been named, is said to be in a stable and non-threatening condition.
One witness, the Reverend Patrick Mahoney, said he was finishing a Good Friday service nearby when he suddenly heard three shots ring out.
“It’s Cherry Blossom season, it’s a Holy Week, it’s Good Friday; you’re out enjoying a beautiful walk on Capitol Hill and the next thing you know, shots are being fired and people are on the ground and cars are going around.
“People were running down Capitol Hill, I was going up. I wanted to get as close as I could to offer any sort of spiritual or emotional support. And then the police evacuated me away.”
Paying tribute to the police officer who died, Ms Pittman later said in a statement: “Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years… please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Officials have said the suspect died in hospital and did not appear to have been on the police’s radar.
Authorities said the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism and there was no apparent connection between Friday’s crash and the Capitol riot on 6 January.
The attack happened as Congress is on recess.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and his wife, Jill, were “heartbroken” by the attack.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss,” he said.
“We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-mast in memory of Officer Evans, who she described as “a martyr for our democracy”.
Sky correspondent Alex Rossi, who is in Washington DC, said: “Police are carrying out forensic investigations, so they’re gathering evidence, trying to understand exactly what has happened and why this has happened as well as how it was able to happen.
“Also, the FBI has now responded to this incident… they will be carrying out their own inquiries, trying to understand how and why this happened.”
Staff inside the Capitol building were sent a message telling them no entry or exit was allowed and they were warned to stay away from exterior windows and doors.
The message added: “If you are outside, seek cover.”
The attack comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Mr Biden’s presidential win.
Five people died in the riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off insurrectionists who supported former president Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the election.