[Editor’s note: This is a developing story].
Just as the U.S. Capitol was beginning to open to the public again, it returns to full lockdown after a car rammed a police checkpoint barricade on Constitution Avenue Friday, April 2. Two U.S. Capitol Police officers were injured – one critically so. The driver left the vehicle with a knife and was shot by police. The suspect and both injured officers were transported to the hospital, where the critically injured officer and the driver died.
Tensions have been high in D.C. since the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol turned ugly. Fences and barricades have framed the scene as National Guard troops patrol the area. Despite the militarization of the Capitol, some fences were being removed and certain areas were being opened once again to the public. This incident marks the first real threat at the Capitol since the initial events of Jan. 6. One wonders if this will cause the current National Guard deployment – scheduled to end May 23 – to be extended once again.
The Capitol is on full lockdown because of the incident. Staffers were told by the USCP around 1:20 p.m. ET that “due to an external security threat, no entry or exit is permitted.” The messages said that people could move around inside the building, but that they should avoid exterior doors or windows. Additionally, anyone outside was instructed to seek cover.
A briefed federal official told ABC News that it is still unknown whether the car-to-barricade incident was even intentional. However, one must assume that, at the very least, getting out of the car and brandishing a knife was intentional, and that’s what got the driver shot by the police. About 40 National Guardsmen have lined up in riot gear to block access to Constitution Avenue just east of the location, and the Guard and USCP have also closed road and pedestrian access on East Capitol Street near the Supreme Court.
Read more from James Fite.