US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said they were “heartbroken” because of the attack at the US Capitol on Friday, 2 April, that left an officer dead and another seriously wounded.
“Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the US Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the US Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life.”Joe Biden, US President
US President Joe Biden and First Lady, who were at Camp David, also offered their “heartfelt condolences” to the family of the slain officer.
‘An Inexplicable Act of Violence’
Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday, 3 April, condoled the death of Officer Evans, saying that he “made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people.”
“Officer Evans, his family, and all those who knew him are in our hearts and prayers. We mourn with them during this difficult time. Doug and I are grateful for the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force, and everyone else who responded swiftly to today’s attack.”Kamala Harris, US Vice President
Harris, who served in the Senate for four years, said, “We continue to be proud of the courageous men and women who defend the Capitol, especially during a challenging period when they have faced two violent and deadly attacks."
Harris added, “In an inexplicable act of violence, a brave US Capitol Police Officer, William Evans, was killed in the line of duty while another officer fights for his life. Officer Evans made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the Capitol. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.”
What Had Happened?
According to AP, a car rammed into a barricade outside the Capitol on Friday afternoon (local time), injuring two police officers, following which the driver was shot. The two officers and the driver were rushed to the hospital.
The US Capitol Police, in a media briefing, confirmed that an 18-year member of the force – Officer Evans – had succumbed to the injuries.
Who Was the Attacker?
Officials have identified the attacker as a 25-year-old Noah R Green from Indiana. Yogananda D Pittman, the acting Capitol Police Chief, told the media that the attacker exited the vehicle with a knife in his hand and began lunging at the officers.
The police in a news conference also said the attack doesn’t come across as an act of terrorism.
“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,” the Metropolitan Police Department chief said at a news conference on Friday.
As per a report in The New York Times, Green in some of his posts online had described himself as a supporter of the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and had also suggested that he had been struggling for the past few months of the pandemic. He had recently lost his job.
Another report in AFP mentions that he wrote about “unimaginable tests” that he faced and that he was “in search of a spiritual journey”.
Flags at US Capitol to Be Flown at Half-Mast
In honour of the slain officer, Biden ordered the flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-mast. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had ordered the same.
In a statement, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that Officer Evan’s name would go down in history for “selfless sacrifice”.
“I am heartbroken that Officer William F Evans was killed in the line of duty defending the Capitol. His name will go down in history for his selfless sacrifice.”Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
A lockdown, which was imposed at the US Capitol in the light of the attack was later lifted.
The incident has taken place while stringent security measures put in place after the 6 January riots were starting to ease up, following President Joe Biden’s oath-taking ceremony.
“All of the fencing that surrounded the outer perimeter of the US Capitol Complex has been removed. Affected roads have reopened. The USCP is ready to quickly ramp up security at a moment’s notice, if needed,” the US Capitol police had tweeted on 24 March.
(With inputs from AP, AFP and The New York Times)