Barely months after the deadly riots that preceeded President Joe Biden's formal recognication as US President, the Capitol area in Washington DC is once again making headlines. The US Capitol was briefly locked down after a person rammed a vehicle into multiple Capitol Hill police officers, killing one and injuring another. The suspect, who exited the vehicle with a knife was fatally shot. While there has been no official details about the motives behind the attack, Law enforcement officials say terrorism is not suspected.
The death of 18-year old William "Billy" Evans has sent shockwaves through the nation, with many including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speaking up about the incident.
"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. He added that he has been receiving briefings from his Homeland Security Advisor, and would continue to do so as the investigation proceeded.
Biden has ordered that US flags at the White House be lowered to half-staff until April 6 to honour the slain Capitol Police officer. Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-staff to commemorate Evans.
Calling it an "inexplicable act of violence", VP Harris condoled Evans' death, stating that he had "made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people".
"Doug and I are grateful for the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force, and everyone else who responded swiftly to today's attack. And we continue to be proud of the courageous men and women who defend the Capitol, especially during a challenging period when they have faced two violent and deadly attacks," Harris, who served in the Senate for four years, said.
"Officer Evans, his family, and all those who knew him are in our hearts and prayers. We mourn with them during this difficult time," she added in her statement.
(With input from agencies)