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Reports: Driver who rammed barrier at US Capitol, killing police officer, is from Indiana

WASHINGTON (AP/WISH/CNN) — A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday after a man — who is from Indiana, according to media reports — rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife. It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit. The other officer, who was struck by the driver’s car, was stable on Friday evening, Capitol police said around 6 p.m.

Law enforcement officials identified the slain suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green. NBC News and Fox News report Green is from Indiana, but authorities have not publicly confirmed that. Investigators were digging into the suspect’s background and examining whether he had any mental health history as they tried to discern a motive. They were working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.

Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar. But the attack underscored that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.

Green described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam and its founder, Louis Farrakhan, and spoke of going through a difficult time where he leaned on his faith, according to recent messages posted online that have since been taken down. The messages were captured by the group SITE, which tracks online activity.

“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote. “I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.”

CNN reports that less than two hours before he was shot and killed, Green posted a number of Instagram stories on an account that appears to belong to him, including links to ​other Instagram videos of Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking.

“The U.S. Government is the #1 enemy of Black people!” a caption on one video read. In another post on the Instagram account, Green wrote last week that he believed Farrakhan had saved him “after the terrible afflictions I have suffered presumably by the CIA and FBI, government agencies of the United States of America,” CNN reports.

Three sources confirmed to News 8 that Green played football at Alleghany High School in Covington, Virginia.

Photo of Noah Green. (Provided Photo/Facebook of Noah Green via CNN)

According to FBI spokesperson Chris Bavender, “The FBI Indianapolis Field Office is providing support and assisting our law enforcement partners as needed.”

Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Pittman told reporters. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.

Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the suspect stabbed one of the officers. The officials spoke to AP were not authorized to publicly discuss the pending investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.”

Authorities said that there wasn’t an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism, though the Capitol was put on lockdown as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the Jan. 6 riot.

The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most are away from the building during the current recess. The attack occurred about 100 yards (91 meters) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol. One witness, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said he was finishing a Good Friday service nearby when he suddenly heard three shots ring out.

It comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off insurrectionists seeking to overturn the election. Authorities installed a tall perimeter fence around the Capitol and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they had begun pulling back some of the emergency measures in recent weeks. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed.

Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on the police’s radar. But the attack underscores that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and his wife were heartbroken to learn of the attack and expressed condolences to Evans’ family. He directed flags at the White House to be lowered to half staff.

Evans is the seventh Capitol Police member to die in the line of duty in the department’s history, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks deaths of law enforcement. Two officers, one from Capitol Police and another from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, died by suicide following the Jan. 6 attack.

Almost 140 Capitol Police officers were wounded then, including officers not issued helmets who sustained head injuries and one officer with cracked ribs, according to the officers’ union. It took hours for the National Guard to arrive, a delay that has driven months of finger-pointing between key decision-makers that day.

They were called upon soon afterward to secure the Capitol during Biden’s inauguration and faced another potential threat in early March linked to conspiracy theories falsely claiming Trump would retake the presidency.

“Today, once again, these heroes risked their lives to protect our Capitol and our Country, with the same extraordinary selflessness and spirit of service seen on January 6,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire House, we are profoundly grateful.”

The suspect had been taken to the hospital in critical condition. One of the officers who was injured was taken by police car to the hospital; the other was transported by emergency medical crews.

The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting, and staffers were told they could not enter or exit buildings. Video showed National Guard troops mobilizing near the area of the crash.

Video posted online showed a dark colored sedan crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police K-9 inspecting the vehicle. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.

Merchant reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick, Lisa Mascaro, Mark Sherman and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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