PRESIDENT Joe Biden said he is "heartbroken" over the death of Capitol Police Officer William 'Billy' Evans, who was killed in a violent incident at a security checkpoint in Washington D.C. early Friday afternoon.
"Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the US Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the US Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life," Biden said.
"We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss," the president continued. "We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it."
He added he was in continuing briefings over the incident and would be updating the public as the investigation continues.
Biden also ordered the White House flags be lowered to half-mast in honor of Evans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed suit, also lowering the Capitol building's flags to half-mast as well.
She similarly released her own statement on Evans, praising the work Capitol police officers did today and on January 6.
"Today, America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans. He is a martyr for our democracy," Pelosi said.
"Members of Congress, staff and Capitol workers, and indeed all Americans are united in appreciation for the courage of the U.S. Capitol Police," the speaker added.
"May we always remember the heroism of those who have given their lives to defend our Democracy. May it be a comfort to the family of Officer Evans that so many mourn with them and pray for them at this sad time."
Evans was a Capitol police officer who was killed after a suspect rammed his car into a barrier and confronted Evans with a knife before being shot dead.
The Capitol was placed on lockdown after the carnage erupted shortly after 1pm on Friday afternoon when the knifeman plowed his blue sedan into the two officers, who were on duty at the security checkpoint.
Capitol Police confirmed one officer and the suspect – identified as Noah Green, 25, by Fox and NBC News – died while a second police officer was rushed to the hospital, where their condition is currently unknown.
Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman confirmed that the suspect was not on police file. Officers added that the incident does not appear to be terrorism related.
Pittman later identified the fallen officer in a statement as William "Billy" Evans.
"It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William 'Billy' Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant," she said.
"Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years. He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers."
According to a Facebook page that appeared to be the suspect's, Green was a "Follower of Farrakhan" – referring to Louis Farrakhan, the leader of Nation of Islam.
Before the page was removed after the attack at the Capitol, Green's posts indicted he was facing difficult times.
He wrote on March 17: “I was on the right track and everything I had planned was coming into existence.
"It required long hours, lots of studying, and exercise to keep me balanced while experiencing an array of concerning symptoms along the path (I believe to be side effects of drugs I was intaking unknowingly).
“However, the path has been thwarted, as Allah (God) has chosen me for other things. Throughout life I have set goals, attained them, set higher ones, and then been required to sacrifice those things."
Green signed the message "Brother Noah X."
Cops said all Capitol buildings were locked down "due to an external security threat" after the suspect rammed a barricade on Constitution Avenue before getting out of the car with what appeared to be a knife.
The weapon in question was described as something "between a kitchen knife and a machete," Fox News reported.
President Joe Biden is "aware of the incident at the US Capitol," the White House said. The White House is expected to make a statement soon.
Following the tragic news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags to be flown half-staff at the US Capitol.
She said in a statement on Friday that Evans was "a martyr for democracy."
"Today, America's heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police Heroes.
"Members of Congress, staff and Capitol workers, and indeed all Americans are united in appreciation for the courage of the U.S. Capitol Police.
"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," Pelosi said.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the suspect was shot by officers and rushed to hospital in a critical condition, where he died a short time later.
One of the injured cops was taken to hospital in a police car and the other was transported by emergency medical crews, officials said.
The FBI Washington Field Office is assisting with the response to the incident, Fox News reports.
TV footage showed a blue sedan crashed into a security barrier on one of the streets leading to Congress, as what appeared to be the injured officers were loaded onto stretchers and into ambulances.
The majority of lawmakers are not near the building as Congress is on recess, and Biden left Washington earlier in the day for Camp David.
The US Capitol lockdown was lifted just after 3pm local time, after over an hour of restrictions.
In a statement on Twitter, the DC National Guard said it deployed soldiers and airmen to the Capitol complex this afternoon to support the US Capitol Police.
"No National Guard members were injured in the incident at the Capitol," the statement said.
"Currently, approximately 2,300 National Guard members are in DC supporting local, state, and federal authorities in DC."
Metropolitan Police told The Sun that they were at the scene assisting.
MSNBC journalist Jake Sherman tweeted videos of police cars speeding up to Capitol Hill, as well as a security helicopter landing on the front lawn.
A DC Fire spokesperson told The Sun that two patients were transported to hospital after the incident.
House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reacted to the news, posting his condolences on Twitter.
"I'm heartbroken for the officer killed today defending our Capitol and for his family. I’m praying for the officer injured and his family. We're in their debt.
"We thank the Capitol Police, National Guard, & first responders for all they do to protect the Capitol and those inside."
Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also wrote: "Please join me in prayer for the two Capitol Police officers and their families.
"They reacted quickly and bravely, as did all the other first responders at the scene. The whole country is pulling for them right now."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: "Praying for the United States Capitol Police officers who were attacked at the Capitol.
"We are still learning what’s taken place. Grateful to all the USCP and first responders who are on the scene."
The incident comes amid tightened security in Washington after the January 6 siege by supporters of then-president Donald Trump.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the assault inspired by Trump's groundless claims that he had lost the November presidential election due to massive fraud.
Since then security officials have said there is an ongoing threat from extreme right groups and Trump supporters.
But security officials have said they will soon scale back fencing that has circled the Capitol since a mob attacked the building.
Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, told members of Congress that the fencing will be scaled back in two phases after US Capitol Police said "there does not exist a known, credible threat."
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