A Capitol Police officer was killed and another seriously injured after a driver rammed his vehicle into a barricade outside the government building. The driver rammed his car into the officers on Friday afternoon before stepping out of the car with a knife and lunging at officers. At least one police officer opened fire and killed the attacker, who has been identified as 25-year-old Noah Green.
The officer who was killed was identified as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force. The other officer’s injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening. “It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police, after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”
Although the motive for the attack is unclear, officials immediately said they didn’t believe it was related to terrorism. Green’s family has released a statement expressing condolences for the death of the officer and saying that the 25-year-old was “not a terrorist by any means.” The 25-year-old appeared to have been suffering from “depression and mental illness,” the family said. Brendan Green, the attacker’s brother, said his family and friends had been concerned about his mental state for years. Brendan Green told the Washington Post that his brother suffered hallucinations, heart palpitations, and suicidal thoughts. Around two weeks ago, Green asked to move in with his brother, saying he was “in a really bad situation and in really bad shape.” Green wrote a post on Facebook last month saying that “these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher.”
The attack comes at a time when the Capitol’s perimeter was starting to reopen after the Jan. 6 riot that led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer. A perimeter fence that had been set up after the riot had recently been removed and reopened a large portion of the area around the Capitol to cars and pedestrians. While some lawmakers have been pushing to remove the last bit of added protection that still remains, the Friday attack could slow that down. “It’s an eyesore, it sucks,” Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said. “Nobody wants that there. But the question is, is the environment safe enough to be able to take it down? In the meantime, maybe that fence can prevent some of these things from happening.”
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