US Capitol in lockdown as vehicle rams barricade, injuring two police officers

Tanya Simon
April 3, 2021

US Capitol Police say all Capitol buildings were being locked down "due to an external security threat" and staff members were told they could not enter or exit the buildings.

A motorist rammed a vehicle into U.S. Capitol Police officers on Friday, killing one and injuring another and forcing the Capitol and congressional office buildings onto high alert, Capitol Police said. The outer ring of fencing was taken down just this week, although an inner ring of fencing remains around the U.S. Capitol building.

"It does not appear to be terrorism-related but obviously we'll continue to investigate", said Robert Contee, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington.

The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden addressing the attack on the United States Capitol on Friday.

Pittman said the U.S. Capitol Police did not have the suspect on file, so there is at present no indication that "there's any nexus to any member of Congress".

The driver stabbed one of the officers, Mr Pittman said. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday's crash and the January 6 riot.

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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. The Associated Press reported that the suspect who drove the vehicle was shot. The driver has since died, they said.

The entry point on Constitution Avenue where the vehicle struck the barricade is directly where Senators and their staff come to the Capitol each day, according to observers.

Television footage showed a blue sedan that had crashed into a security barrier on one of the streets leading to Congress, as what appeared to be the injured officers were loaded onto gurneys and into ambulances. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the Capitol flags to be flown at half mast in honour of the officer killed in the attack.

The incident occurred as both the House and Senate were in recess, though both buildings have staff - and reporters - working inside.

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