Two U.S. Capitol Police officers are injured after a car apparently rammed them at a barricade at the Capitol on Friday afternoon, Capitol Police said.
“USCP is responding to the North Barricade vehicle access point along Independence Avenue for reports someone rammed a vehicle into two USCP officers,” USCP said in a statement on Twitter. “A suspect is in custody. Both officers are injured. All three have been transported to the hospital.”
Capitol Police later said the incident occurred at Constitution Avenue.
Video from reporters at the scene posted on Twitter appeared to show a car that had crashed into a barrier. In the videos, at least two people were carried on stretchers into waiting ambulances.
Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C. Fire and EMS Department, confirmed that “we … transported two patients to area hospitals from the scene,” but declined to elaborate on the extent of the injuries.
The U.S. Capitol was placed under lockdown amid what Capitol Police described as “an external security threat.”
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No entry or exit is being permitted, and police said: “If you are outside, seek cover.”
The incident occurred as both the House and Senate were in recess, though both buildings have staff – and reporters — working inside. Several lawmakers took to Twitter to share thoughts and prayers for those at the building as the situation unfolded.
President Biden was in Camp David, Md., when the incident took place, according to the White House.
A statement from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department said: “A call came in at approximately 1:05 pm to the unit block of Constitution Ave, NE, for the report of a possible shooting.” MPD provided no other details.
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.
The D.C. National Guard said it deployed a quick reaction force, comprising National Guard soldiers and airmen, to the Capitol complex to support the U.S. Capitol Police.
Attorney General Merrick Garland “has been briefed on the incident … and is actively monitoring the situation,” tweeted Anthony Coley, a Justice Department spokesman.
The incident comes less than three months after the Jan. 6 riot that exposed serious flaws in the Capitol’s security apparatus.
Temporary fencing that had been erected around the Capitol’s outer perimeter was removed late last month, though temporary fencing remains in place closer to the building. The crash occurred at an access checkpoint to the Capitol.
Capitol Police have said that a reduced perimeter will stay up while it works with “congressional stakeholders and law enforcement partners to strengthen our security posture.”
NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales reports that there has been considerable concern among lawmakers from both parties about the prospect of making the fencing permanent.