Ambulances and a helicopter were rushed to the US Capitol after an “external threat” incident forced it into lockdown. Capitol Police said two of its officers were injured when a suspect “rammed” a vehicle into their checkpoint.
“Someone rammed a vehicle into two” officers at the checkpoint on Constitution Avenue shortly after 1 pm on Friday, Capitol Police said. “A suspect is in custody. Both officers are injured. All three have been transported to the hospital.”
Video from the scene showed a black car smashed against one of the security barriers.
Reporters inside the Capitol filmed a US Park Police helicopter touching down on the lawn outside the east entrance. It wasn’t clear whether it was a medical evacuation aircraft or not, however.
The shots that were heard were apparently the officers opening fire and injuring the suspect, after he reportedly got out of the car with a knife. Local media reported the suspect is in critical condition, citing officials.
The original Capitol Police statement incorrectly placed the incident on Independence avenue, before they sent out a correction. The checkpoint is on the northeast side of the Capitol, between the main building and the Russell Senate office building.
Congress is currently on Easter recess and the legislators aren’t expected back in Washington until April 12.
Friday’s incident is the first real security threat – there have been several “suspicious package” alerts that turned out to be false alarms – since the January 6 riot, when a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump interrupted the joint session of Congress meeting to certify the election of Democrat Joe Biden as president. Democrats denounced the riot as an “insurrection” and sought to impeach Trump over it even after he left office.
Some 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to safeguard Biden’s inauguration and the Capitol from “threats” that never materialized. An outer perimeter fence topped by razor wire was only recently removed from around the Capitol.
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