“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant,” acting U.S Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement.
Evans was an 18-year USCP veteran who served in Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit, Pittman said. “Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” she added.
The officer’s loss is a heavy blow for the USCP, which lost Officer Brian Sicknick when a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and two other officers died by suicide after the attack.
Pittman said in a news conference that at 1:02 p.m. EDT, a driver rammed his vehicle into two USCP officers near the Capitol and then continued to hit the barrier on Constitution Avenue. The suspect proceeded to exit the car, brandishing a knife and “started to lunge aggressively toward U.S. Capitol Police officers,” ignoring verbal commands, she said. Officers then shot the suspect, who later died at a hospital.
The USCP announced Friday the other officer “who was struck by the car is in stable and non-threatening condition.”
The suspect was identified as Noah Green, 25, of Indiana, said a law enforcement official briefed on the inquiry. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the suspect also appeared to have ties to Virginia.
D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said there does not appear to be an ongoing threat related to the incident and that “it does not appear to be terrorism-related.”
Contee said police are investigating to determine Green’s motive. He said Green was not known to either D.C. Police or the USCP and was not previously considered a threat to lawmakers.
Capitol locked down
The gated entrance that Green rammed is one of several that allow access to the U.S. Capitol and is primarily used by senators and staff.
D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department reported that they received a 911 call at 1:05 p.m. about a “possible shooting” near the Capitol.
After the incident, the Capitol was placed on lockdown. An email from USCP sent to Capitol Hill staff at 1:20 p.m. EDT said, “The external security threat located at all of the U.S. Capitol Campus Buildings continues. ” The email told those outside to “seek cover” and text message alerts asked those inside to stay away from windows.
The lockdown was lifted at about 3 p.m.
“The USCP has cleared the external security threat incident located at all of the U.S. Capitol Campus buildings, however the areas around the crime scene will continue to be restricted and individuals should follow police direction,” said an email sent to Capitol Hill staff members.
Jake Sherman, a Capitol Hill reporter for Punchbowl News, shared footage of a helicopter landing on the east side of the Capitol building in response to the incident.
Access to the Capitol premises has been heavily guarded since the Jan. 6 riot that left five dead, including Sicknick. Friday’s incident did not appear to have any connection to the Jan. 6 attack.
Two layers of 8-foot fences, topped with barbed wire, were erected in the aftermath – one that surrounded the Capitol and another that surrounded the overall campus and blocks of federal buildings, including the Supreme Court and Library of Congress.
The outer fence was taken down late last month, which allowed pedestrians and vehicles closer access to the Capitol, including the area where this incident took place.
Members of Congress, president react
The incident happened while both chambers of Congress are out of session and most lawmakers are back in their home districts.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. who was back in South Carolina but had some of his staff in his Capitol Hill office said he was “thankful” the incident didn’t escalate.