A Capitol police officer was killed Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the US Capitol, Washington, D.C. and then emerged wielding a knife, law enforcement officials said.
Both officers were hospitalised, and one of them “succumbed to his injuries”, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. The suspect died at a hospital, officials said.
Pittman did not identify the slain officer or suspect. Authorities said that there was no longer an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism.
There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the January 6 riot, as reported FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and Reuters.
The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol while Congress is on recess. It comes as the Washington, D.C. region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.
Television footage showed a blue sedan that had crashed into a security barrier on one of the streets leading to Congress, as what appeared to be the injured officers being loaded onto gurneys and into ambulances.
Dozens of police cars, marked and unmarked, raced towards the Capitol building. All roads leading to the complex were blocked by police or police officers.
A helicopter was seen hovering overhead and observers were ordered to leave the area.
Authorities have begun only in the past couple of weeks to remove the outer ring of high, razor-wire-topped fencing erected around the sprawling Capitol complex following the January 6 attack by thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the assault inspired by Trump’s groundless claims that he had lost the November presidential election due to massive fraud.
Since then security officials have said there is an ongoing threat from extreme right groups and Trump supporters.
More than 300 people have been charged in the January attack, including members of armed extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and 100 more are expected to be charged, according to Justice Department court filings.
In recent weeks some security has been loosened, with the number of armed National Guard troops at the Capitol reduced and a security fence that created a broad perimeter around the Capitol complex removed.
The danger on Friday was limited as Congress was in recess and relatively few people were in the building.