One US police officer was killed and another injured on Friday after a vehicle rammed into one of the barriers surrounding the Capitol complex in Washington, forcing the area into a lockdown. US Capitol Police (USCP) later said that the motorist was shot and killed.
According to US Capitol Police just after 1 pm (local time), a man in a blue sedan rammed his vehicle into the North Barricade at the US Capitol striking two officers.
After crashing his vehicle just inside the Capitol complex, the driver of the blue sedan exited the car and started "lunging" toward officers, who then fired on the person, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said at a briefing Friday afternoon.
"He did not respond to verbal commands. The suspect did start lunging toward US Capitol Police officers, at which time US Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect," Pittman said.
Both the injured police officers were transported to two different hospitals after the attack and the suspect was also taken to the hospital, where he succumbed, Pittman said.
Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said the investigation into the incident was ongoing. Investigators do not yet have a motive for the attack but do not believe the incident was "terrorism-related" at this time, Chief Robert Contee of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department told reporters.
"It does not appear to be terrorism-related. But obviously, we'll continue to investigate to see if there is some type of nexus along those lines," he said at a news conference Friday.
According to videos shared on social media, a helicopter was spotted landing in the area to respond to the incident. National Guard troops were also seen lining up with their shields at various intersections near the Capitol.
Later the police said that lockdown was lifted and the USCP has "cleared the external security threat incident located at all of the U.S. Capitol Campus buildings, however the area around the crime scene will continue to be restricted and individuals should continue to follow police direction."
According to CNN, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden is "aware" of the Capitol incident. Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-staff due to the death of the police officer, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff tweeted.
Acting Police chief Pittman asked the public to continue to keep US Capitol Police and families in their prayers.
"This has been an extremely difficult time for US Capitol Police after the events of January 6 and now the events that have occurred here today. So I ask that you keep our US Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers," Pittman said.
The incident follows a recent ramping down of some additional protective measures that were put into place after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Hill complex.
Barbed wire fencing that surrounded the complex for months after pro-Trump rioters stormed the building on January 6 has since come down and thousands of the National Guard troops who were deployed in response to the insurrection have since returned home, though thousands still remain in Washington due to lingering security concerns.
The National Guard was seen responding to Friday's attack, and later confirmed it had been deployed to the Capitol.
( With inputs from ANI )
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