Police officer dead after suspect rams car into barricade outside U.S. Capitol

Law enforcement investigate the scene after a vehicle charged a barricade at the U.S. Capitol on April 2, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — One U.S. Capitol Police officer was dead and another injured Friday after a driver slammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and struck the officers, according to law enforcement.

The officer who died was identified as Officer William “Billy” Evans by police. “Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years.  He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” said said Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The suspect in the vehicle was shot and killed, she said during a press conference. The suspect’s name has not been released.

Police said there did not appear to be a larger threat to the Capitol, though the investigation is continuing and it’s unclear what the suspect’s motive might have been. Members of Congress are on recess so the building is relatively empty.

The incident at the Capitol follows the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a pro-Trump mob descended on the building, leaving five people dead— including a Capitol Police officer — and hundreds injured. Added fencing that’s surrounded the perimeter of the Capitol complex since then was taken down just over a week ago.

Some National Guard troops also remain to protect the Capitol.

Pittman said the person who drove into the barricade at the Capitol’s north entrance got out with a knife in hand, did not respond to verbal commands and lunged toward police, who  “fired upon the suspect.”

The names of the officers and the suspect have not been released.

“Please keep the Capitol Police and first responders in your prayers as we try to understand the situation unfolding at the Capitol right now,” Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., tweeted.

A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the Capitol will fly flags at half staff due to the death of the police officer.

President Joe Biden left earlier in the day for the presidential retreat at Camp David in northern Maryland. He said in a statement late Friday afternoon he has ordered White House flags be flown at half mast and has been getting regular briefings from the Homeland Security Advisor about the investigation.

“Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the U.S. Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the U.S. Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life,” Biden said. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.”