A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday afternoon and a second was injured after a driver rammed his car into a barricade outside the Capitol, sending the complex into lockdown just three months after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said the two officers were hit by the suspect’s dark blue sedan after he drove through a barricade at about 1:02 p.m.
The driver, who a senior law-enforcement source confirmed to The Daily Beast was 25-year-old Noah Green, jumped out of the car brandishing a knife. He was shot by officers after he failed to respond to verbal commands and “lunged” at them with the knife, Pittman said in a Friday afternoon press conference. MSNBC first reported Green’s identity.
Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans, a member of the force for 18 years and part of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit, died. “We ask that you keep U.S. Capitol Police in your prayers,” Pittman said. The second officer was said to be in stable, non-life-threatening condition.
The suspect was taken into custody but later died from his injuries.
According to a social media profile under Green’s name, which was taken down shortly after the incident, he recently lived in Virginia, was unemployed, and was a member of the Nation of Islam who called himself Noah X and posted prolifically about his faith.
He said he had been faced with “fear, hunger, loss of wealth, and diminution of fruit” in recent months, and was being sustained by faith “centered on the belief of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as Jesus, the Messiah.”
Green posted that he had graduated with distinction, landed a good job out of college, and pursued a graduate degree “despite not growing up in the best of circumstances.” He said he was on track to go into business but his path was “thwarted.”
His brother, Brendan Green, told The Washington Post that the 25-year-old had been increasingly paranoid and unhinged in recent months, even hinting at a suicide attempt while abroad in Botswana. Brendan said the two had recently begun living together, and that Noah sent him a despondent text message the day before the incident.
“I’m sorry but I’m just going to go and live and be homeless,” Brendan Green told the paper the text said. Those who knew Noah Green also recalled a disturbing turn in his college football days, in 2019, when he became convinced he had been drugged with Xanax.
Pittman said the suspect was not known to Capitol Police and there was no indication of “any nexus” to members of Congress. She also said there was no ongoing threat and the suspect didn’t yell anything before being shot.
“The knife was clearly in his hand and he started to run toward the officers,” Pittman said, adding that officials reviewed security footage and didn’t see the suspect wrestling or making contact with the two officers.
Pittman added that while an investigation into motive was ongoing, it does not appear to be "terrorism-related.”
The second officer, whose name was not immediately released, was seriously injured. He was “fighting for his life,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
“Today, in an inexplicable act of violence, a brave U.S. Capitol Police Officer was killed in the line of duty, while another officer fights for his life. Officer William Evans made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement, adding that “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.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff, just weeks after they were lowered for the Capitol Police officers who died after the Jan. 6 insurrection. Officer Brian Sicknick died in the hospital after being sprayed with bear spray amid that previous chaos, and two more officers later died by suicide.
Several congressional reporters tweeted photos and videos of the scene unfolding in front of them on Friday. Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich said stretchers were being brought in for injured people. Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman said a helicopter landed on Capitol grounds.
Those inside the Capitol were notified of the situation, getting an alert at 1:04 p.m. stating “no entry or exit is permitted” due to “an external security threat.”
“Stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover,” the loudspeaker alert said.
The messages continued to be sent to all congressional staff after the incident had seemingly ended. About 90 minutes later, Capitol Police sent an update saying the threat had been “neutralized,” but the lockdown remained in place due to an “abundance of caution.” Just after 3 p.m., the lockdown ended.
Congress is in recess, meaning the vast majority of lawmakers are not near the building. Biden had also already left D.C. for Camp David on Friday.
Plenty of staff and Capitol workers were still at the Capitol, however, as were some lawmakers.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who did a live interview with CNN from his car Friday, said he had just stepped out of his Capitol Hill office and was going to get Chinese food when the area went into lockdown.
“I had thought that once the barriers were removed, that we were moving back to some sense of normalcy. But this just shows the level of risk that there still is, and really sad that this is happening at the Capitol,” he said.
The Capitol complex had been surrounded by fencing in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot. But much of the outer perimeter was removed last week and many roads leading to the building—including the one where the attack took place—were reopened.
Lawmakers and staff were hopeful that the scaled-down security meant the Capitol was no longer under serious threat.
“I can’t imagine, that going to the United States Capitol to represent your constituents is actually a dangerous thing in the United States of America,” Khanna said. “It’s just deeply sad.”
Pittman said on Friday that it has been a hard time for the agency since the riot. “But we will get through this,” she said.
National Guard and Metropolitan Police officers quickly locked down two long blocks along Constitution Ave. The FBI’s Washington Field Office also responded to the incident, a spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
“Praying for the United States Capitol Police officers who were attacked at the Capitol,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted. “We are still learning what’s taken place. Grateful to all the USCP and first responders who are on the scene.”
—with additional reporting by Sam Brodey and Matt Fuller