Acting Chief of Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman speaks during a press conference near the US Capitol on April 2, 2021, after a vehicle drove into US Capitol police officers in Washington, DC.
But Congress is now in recess, meaning the majority of politicians are not at the Capitol complex today. It comes as the Washington region remains on edge almost three months after a mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden's presidential win.
The suspect - who has since been pronounced dead - entered the North barricade of the Capitol just after 1 p.m. ET, ramming his auto into two officers and then crashing into a barrier, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said at a briefing.
US Capitol Police have just identified the officer killed by a driver who rammed into a Capitol barricade on Friday. The officer's identity was not released. He exited the vehicle and began "lunging" toward police with a knife visible in his hand, at which point officers fired their weapons, killing the suspect. "At least one officer, drew their weapon and shot the suspect". They said a suspect was in custody. The suspect died at a hospital.
The security checkpoint is typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, but lawmakers are away on break. Fencing that prevented vehicular traffic near that area was recently removed as the Capitol has started to open up after the January 6 riots.
All roads leading to the complex were blocked by police or police officers. The law enforcement officials told the AP that the driver then got out of the vehicle with what appeared to be a knife.
While the incident remains under investigation, some have alleged that Trump and supporters encouraged the attack and that Trump officials held back on deploying additional law enforcement and troops to fight back the attackers.
The U.S. Capitol complex was placed on lockdown after the shooting, and staffers were told they could not enter or exit buildings.
Capitol Police tweeted just after 3 p.m. that it had cleared the "external security incident" at all U.S. Capitol Campus buildings, but said the area around the scene would remain restricted. But the hallways were mostly empty despite the chaos outside.
There was no immediate connection apparent between January 6 and Friday's crash.
A photo taken by an Associated Press photographer showed officers surrounding a vehicle that appeared to have crashed into a barricade on the Capitol's north side.