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AFP
April 3, 2021

Cop dies in US Capitol car-ramming attack

Top Story

AFP
April 3, 2021

WASHINGTON: A US Capitol police officer was killed and a second injured on Friday after a vehicle rammed through security and crashed into a barrier at the Washington complex, forcing it into lockdown less than three months after a mob assault on Congress. Capitol Police shot dead the driver after he jumped out of the car and lunged at them with a knife, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters.

No information was available on the identity of the attacker or his motivation. Pittman said there was no existing police file on the suspect. But Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee indicated that a terror link was not suspected at this stage."It does not appear to be terrorism-related, but obviously we will continue to investigate," said Contee. News reports said President Joe Biden, spending the Easter weekend at his Camp David retreat, had been informed of the attack. The slain officer was identified by US Capitol Police as William "Billy" Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force."

Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers," Pittman said in a statement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags lowered to half-staff on the Capitol in the victim´s honor while the Senate´s chief Republican, Mitch McConnell, offered prayers. "I´m heartbroken for the officer killed today defending our Capitol and for his family. I´m praying for the officer injured and his family," tweeted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The attack came as psyches remained scarred and security tight after the January assault on Congress by hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump. National Guard troops were mobilized Friday and staff at the huge Capitol complex ordered to stay away from windows and seek cover after alerts went out over the incident shortly after 1 pm (1700 GMT).While Congress was on recess for the Easter holiday, text messages sent to staffers still working inside told them to avoid windows and said no one could enter or leave the building."If you are outside, seek cover," the messages said, while television footage showed what appeared to be the injured officers being loaded onto gurneys and into ambulances. Following the attack, the blue sedan could be seen crashed into a security barrier on one of the streets leading to Congress. "I drive through this checkpoint and wave to the officers guarding it nearly every day that I´m in Washington. I´m heartbroken to learn of an officer´s death in today´s attack," tweeted Representative Angie Craig.