The deadly attack on the perimeter of the United States Capitol could delay the gradual reopening of the complex to the public just as lawmakers were considering returning to normal security measures after the January 6 assault.
Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, with 18 years of experience in the institution, died Friday when a man crashed his car into a barrier installed just outside the wing that occupies the Senate.
The driver, identified as Noah Green, 25, was shot dead by authorities when he got out of the car and pounced on the police armed with a knife.
The suspect suffered from depression, according to his family, as well as hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal tendencies, an official source revealed to The Associated Press.
Detectives conjecture that it was an isolated incident not related to an act of terrorism but to an act of a “disturbed” young man.
In recent social media posts, Green said the past few years have been “tough” and the past few months “even tougher,” according to NBC News.
“I am currently unemployed after I quit my job partly due to my problems, but ultimately in search of a spiritual journey,” he wrote on his Facebook profile, which was removed shortly after the incident.
Green described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam, a separatist movement of the black race that does not follow the traditional principles of the Islamic faith, and whose founder is Louis Farrakhan.
That movement was designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to “the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders.”
The incident came less than two weeks after Capitol police removed an exterior fence that had cut off a wide area to vehicular and police traffic in an effort to secure the federal building after thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump marched into the building on January 6 and around 800 broke in violently.
The assault caused five deaths, including a Capitol police officer.
Although lawmakers from both parties criticized the fence, with some calling it an overreaction, the police, who took on the brunt of the January siege, kept the internal perimeter fence intact to try to ensure the safety of the complex and the lawmakers who work in it.
The tall black fence, which until recently had parts crowned with barbed wire, was not only a nuisance for residents in the area, as it blocked the main arteries of the city, but was also a symbol of the fear they felt. many on Capitol Hill when the violent mob stormed the building.
Lawmakers said the seat of American democracy was conceived as a space open to the public, even if there is a permanent threat.
The incident occurred within the perimeter, when the driver slipped through a door that had been opened to allow vehicles to enter and exit the Capitol, and crashed into a protective barrier installed long before January 6. There was no evidence that Green’s actions were related to the insurrection.
“He got out of the vehicle with a knife in his hand,” authorities said of the incident that left an officer dead and the suspect shot dead.
Security authorities say the complex cannot return to the level of security it had before. In February, Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman stated that even before the 9/11 attacks, security experts including former police chiefs said that more measures were needed to protect the facilities.
“The security infrastructure of the Capitol must change,” she said.
A comprehensive security review conducted after the assault by a task force led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, recommended replacing that barrier with a mobile one and “an integrated retractable fencing system” that can be deployed as needed. But it’s unclear whether that expensive project would win congressional backing.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.