US Capitol in lockdown as auto rams barricade, injuring two police officers

Paola Ditto
Aprile 3, 2021

Staffers on the Hill were sent a message from U.S. Capitol Police around 1:20 p.m. ET saying "due to an external security threat" that "no entry or exit is permitted".

One U.S. Capitol Police officer is dead and another is hospitalized with injuries after an apparent attack at a Capitol checkpoint, in which a man rammed his vehicle into officers and lunged at them with a knife, police said. The outer ring of fencing was taken down just this week, although an inner ring of fencing remains around the U.S. Capitol building.

Robert Contee, chief of the DC police department, told a news conference later that there was no longer an ongoing threat and the attack was not believed to be related to terrorism.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from the White House, said: "It seems as if the incident is over".

The FBI's Washington, D.C., field office said it had "responded to an incident at the U.S. Capitol" and is providing support to Capitol Police.

But Congress is now in recess, meaning the majority of politicians are not at the Capitol complex today.

The driver stabbed one of the officers, Mr Pittman said.

Authorities have begun only in the past couple of weeks to remove the outer ring of high, razor-wire-topped fencing erected around the sprawling Capitol complex after the January 6 rampage. One of the officers who was injured was taken by police vehicle to the hospital; the other was being transported by emergency medical crews, the officials said.

Police block a street after a vehicle drove into police officers near the US Capitol building in Washington, US, April 2, 2021.

Security at the Capitol has been very heavy since a mob attacked police and overran security checkpoints on January 6 after attending a political rally organized by former President Donald Trump. Congress is now on recess.

Video posted online showed a dark colored sedan crashed against a vehicle barrier and a police K9 inspecting the vehicle.

The Capitol was locked down and a National Guard team was deployed as police instructed staff to remain indoors. Law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual.

The incident occurred as both the House and Senate were in recess, though both buildings have staff - and reporters - working inside.

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