DC Police Chief: US Capitol Attack Not Related to Terrorism

April 2, 2021 Updated: April 2, 2021

The head of the Washington police force said that Friday’s deadly attack on Capitol Police officers outside Capitol Hill does not appear to be terrorism-related.

Earlier Friday, a car crashed into the Capitol barrier on Constitution Ave. before a suspect emerged from the car and lunged at the officers with a knife, prompting the officers to open fire, killing the suspect. One officer was killed and another was hurt in the incident, said Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman.

Metropolitan Police Department Acting Chief Robert Contee told reporters that the incident doesn’t appear to be related to terrorism, adding that the suspect had no known connection to any member of Congress. There was also no immediate and apparent connection between Friday’s incident and the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

The suspect also was not known to police, Contee said.

Following the crash, the Capitol Campus was locked down, said the Capitol Police in a statement.

“One USCP [Capitol Police] officer was transported by a USCP cruiser to the hospital,” the department wrote. “The second USCP officer was transported by DC Fire and EMS.”

The suspect, who was not identified, was transported by DC Fire and EMS to a hospital “where he succumbed to his injuries around 1:30 p.m.,” the department added.

In a news conference, Pittman said, “It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries.”

The attack occurred about 100 yards (91 meters) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed.

Video footage showed a number of National Guard troops responding to the incident wearing riot gear, and a large presence of Guard troops was seen outside the Capitol.

Other footage posted online showed a dark colored sedan 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.

A number of senators issued statements following the incident.

“My heart is heavy following the death of another U.S. Capitol police officer, and my thoughts are with their loved ones. I’m thankful for the quick response at the scene, and pray for an urgent, active peace across our nation that brings an end to this senseless violence,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) tweeted.

Added Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): “U.S. Capitol Police deserve the gratitude of the nation for their bravery today. Please pray for the family of our lost officer, who gave his life to protect others.”

President Joe Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the attack occurred.

“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 in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.