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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
PA US Capitol Police examine the car that crashed into the barrier

Police officer dies after man drove a car into barricade at US Capitol in Washington DC

Authorities say that attack did not appear to be terrorism.

LAST UPDATE | Apr 2nd 2021, 8:12 PM

A POLICE OFFICER has been killed after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the US Capitol building in Washington DC and then emerged wielding a knife.

Video showed the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters.

The driver stabbed one of the officers, Pittman said. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.

“I just ask that the public continue to keep US Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for US Capitol Police after the events of 6 January and now the events that have occurred here today.”

Pittman did not identify the officer or suspect. Authorities said that there was not an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism.

There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the riot on 6 January.

The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol as Congress is in recess so fewer people than usual would have been in the building. 

capitol-lockdown J. Scott Applewhite J. Scott Applewhite

Authorities had installed a tall perimeter fence around the Capitol after the riot on 6 January and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they had begun pulling back some of the emergency measures in recent weeks.

Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar. But the attack underscores that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.

The security checkpoint is typically used by US senators and staff on weekdays. The attack occurred about 90 metres from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol.

Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed, but there was additional interior fencing between the checkpoint and the building.

The suspect had been taken to the hospital in critical condition. One of the officers who was injured was taken by police car to the hospital; the other was transported by emergency medical crews.

The US Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting, and staffers were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video showed National Guard troops mobilising near the area of the crash.

Video posted online showed a dark coloured car crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police K-9 inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.

President Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the attack occurred. As customary, he was travelling with a member of the National Security Council Staff who was expected to brief him on the incident.

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