A policeman died along with the driver of a vehicle that slammed into barricades at the United States Capitol on Friday, causing a lockdown at the seat of Congress.
Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the United States Capitol Police, said a suspect and a United States Capitol Police officer died while a second officer was hospitalized after the incident, which occurred just after 1 p.m. EDT.
“The suspect crashed his car into two of our officers, then hit the north barrier of the barricade. At that time, the suspect got out of the vehicle with a knife in his hand, ”she said during a press briefing.
Pittman said the suspect did not respond to verbal orders and was shot by police after rushing to them.
The attack on the United States Capitol Police on Friday comes less than three months after the January 6 assault on Congress by pro-Trump supporters trying to block certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. A Capitol Police officer was killed after suffering injuries during the assault.
“It has been an extremely difficult time for the United States Capitol Police after the events of January 6 and now the events that have occurred here today,” said Pittman. “So I ask you to keep our United States Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The deceased officer has not yet been named, pending notification to the next of kin.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said his force was seeking to determine the motive for the “senseless act” and added that there did not appear to be a continuing threat.
Anthony Coley, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said US Attorney General Merrick Garland was “actively monitoring” the situation.
President Joe Biden had just arrived at Camp David, Maryland’s presidential retreat, when the attack took place. Congress is on vacation, so many lawmakers and their employees were not present at the time of the attack.
The District of Columbia National Guard deployed an immediate reaction force in response to the attack, providing a much faster response in support of the United States Capitol Police that the military reserve did during the assault of January 6. He did not disclose more details, but said none of his officers were injured.
The IRF was already stationed at the Capitol among 2,300 members of the National Guard who have continued to guard the capital since security was tightened after the Jan.6 assault.
Immediately after Friday’s attack, members of Congress reacted with dismay to the latest episode of violence against the United States Legislature and expressed their gratitude to the United States Capitol Police.
“The brave men and women of the United States Capitol Police put their lives on the line every day to protect the heart of our democracy. We hope and pray for the recovery of the injured in the line of duty, ”said Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Senator for Minnesota.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader in the Senate, said, “Pray for the United States Capitol cops who were attacked on Capitol Hill. We are still learning what happened. ”