One U.S. Capitol police officer is dead following what officials described as a “critical incident” involving a reported vehicle ramming and a knife-wielding suspect, who has also died.
Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, confirmed the death of the officer following the attack, in a press conference with journalists on Friday afternoon.
“The suspect did start lunging towards U.S. Capitol police officers at which time U.S. Capitol police officers fired upon the suspect. At this time, the suspect has been pronounced deceased,” Pittman said.
She added it is with “a heavy heart” that she confirmed one officer succumbed to injuries from the attack but said no further details are available right now pending notification of next-of-kin.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol police after the events of Jan. 6,” she said.
The attack does not appear to be terrorism-related, police said, adding there is no indication at this time that the suspect was connected to any Congress member, and that they were not known to police.
Police said earlier in the afternoon they were responding to a “critical incident” following reports of a vehicle ramming two officers on the grounds of the federal legislature.
The verified Twitter account for the National Guard’s public affairs division tweeted that they deployed an Immediate Response Force of soldiers and airmen to support the police response.
The incident occurred near the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol.
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The security checkpoint is typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, according to the Associated Press, which also noted that Congress is currently on recess.
U.S. President Joe Biden had just departed the White House for Camp David when the incident occurred.
The apparent lockdown comes nearly three months after violent pro-Trump mobs stormed the U.S. Capitol buildings in an insurrection aimed at disrupting the certification of Electoral College votes that would confirm Biden’s victory.
READ MORE: Fencing around U.S. Capitol to be scaled back as security threat diminishes
Earlier in March, U.S. Capitol police said that they would begin scaling back fencing put in place to cut off pedestrian and vehicle traffic to the buildings following the insurrection.
The Associated Press at the time cited Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as telling members of Congress that the decision came following advice from Capitol police that “there does not exist a known, credible threat” to warrant keeping the barrier in place.
The decision prompted strong bipartisan criticism.
Five people died after the pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached by the House for inciting that mob.
The Senate acquitted him after Republicans opposed the impeachment.
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With files from The Associated Press.
— More to come.
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