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

Law enforcement investigate Friday after a vehicle charged a barricade at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.. One officer was killed and one was wounded. The suspect, who exited the vehicle with a knife, was fatally shot. (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 Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The suspect in the vehicle was shot and killed, she said during a news 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 more than 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.”

“My prayers are with the fallen Capitol Police officer,” said U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kansas. “These brave women and men put themselves in harm’s way every day to serve and protect.”

A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Capitol will fly flags at half staff because of Evans’ death.

“America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our U.S. Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans,” Pelosi said in a statement. “He is a martyr for our democracy. May it be a comfort to his family that so many mourn with them and pray for them at this sad time.”

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 adviser 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.”