Connect with us

General

U.S. Capitol on Lockdown After Vehicle Attack; 2 Officers Injured


A suspect was shot and killed at the U.S. Capitol on Friday after ramming and injuring two Capitol Police officers with a vehicle near the heavily guarded northern entrance to the building, according to congressional and law enforcement officials.

At least one of the officers had been medevacked to a hospital, according to one of the officials, and a National Guard quick-response team as well as local police were on hand at the already heavily fortified complex.

Eyewitnesses posted videos of a large law enforcement response in the most serious security incident at the complex since the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the building that injured dozens and killed five people.

The Capitol Police said on Twitter that the suspect and two officers had been taken to the hospital. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a rapidly unfolding security incident.

Around 1 p.m. in Washington, the Capitol went into lockdown, with police instructing staff to remain indoors, away from doors and windows, and to “seek cover” if they were outside of the building. Images posted on social media as the episode took place appeared to show emergency workers treating someone on the driveway of the Capitol. Later, a blue car could be seen rammed into one of the security barricades outside the Capitol, with the driver’s side door and trunk open.

One member of the news media, Jake Sherman, posted a video showing a helicopter landing near the building, hovering a few feet off the ground, then careening through trees as police vehicles drove across the plaza.

With Congress in recess, most lawmakers were not on Capitol Hill, and President Biden had left Washington earlier in the day for Camp David. But many staff aides were in and around the Capitol working or receiving coronavirus vaccinations.

A reporter informed Jen Psaki, Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman, about the incident during her daily press briefing at the White House. She said Mr. Biden was accompanied on his trip by national security aides who would update him on developments.

The alarm came on a quiet afternoon at the complex.

“Capitol: Due to an external security threat located All U.S. Capitol Campus Buildings, no entry or exit is permitted at this time,” the Capitol Police said in an alert circulated to staff. “You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover.”

The attack came more than a week after officials removed a perimeter fence topped with razor wire that had been placed around the complex to guard against follow-up attacks after the Jan. 6 riot, and reopened the streets surrounding the Capitol to vehicle traffic.

They also announced they would ramp down the National Guard presence on Capitol Hill, reducing the number of troops to 2,200, and extending their deployment until May 23.

An inner-perimeter fence around the actual Capitol building remains in place while police and lawmakers continue to hash out a long-term security plan.

Copyright © 2020 AMSNBC News