Officer, Suspect Die After Car Rams Into U.S. Capitol Barrier
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U.S. Capitol Police Officer and Knife-Wielding Suspect Both Die After Car Rams into Officers, Barricade

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died following an attack by a suspect who “rammed a vehicle” into a barrier on Friday, authorities said at an afternoon news conference.  The suspect exited his car and “lunged” or ran “aggressively” at the officers “with a knife in hand.”

“He did not respond to verbal commands,” said Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief.  “U.S. Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect.”

“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Pittman said.  “We still have to notify the next of kin.  I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers.  This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”

The names of the officers involved and the name of the suspect were not released. It is also unclear precisely how the officer and the suspect died, though it is presumed the suspect died from being shot by the police.

Robert Contee, the acting chief of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, said his department was taking over the core homicide and internal affairs investigations.

Earlier, CNN said the suspect was taken into custody and was conscious immediately after the events unfolded.

Contee said he did not believe the threat was ongoing but noted that the investigation was still unfolding.  He added that the suspect did not appear to be “known” to the Washington, D.C. law enforcement community. Pittman also said the suspect’s name was not contained in Capitol Police files.

“This was someone who was actively trying to just get at whoever, or whatever, we just don’t know right now,” Contee said while openly wondering about the suspect’s motive.

Earlier, Capitol Police tweeted that the suspect had “rammed a vehicle into” the two officers.

NBC News reported that incident occurred on the Senate side of the Capitol building.

The National Guard mobilized under the presumption that an attack could be ongoing.

It appears at least one injured party was transported to the hospital by helicopter.

This is a breaking news report.  It has been updated as information has been released or clarified.

[image via screen capture from NBC News]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University.  He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now a Senior Editor for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only.  You should not rely on it for legal advice.  Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.  Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.