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One police officer dead in new US Capitol attack

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An inner perimeter anti-scaling fence is around the US Capitol, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Updated: )

WASHINGTON: A motorist rammed a vehicle into two US Capitol Police officers on Friday (Apr 2), injuring one and killing the other in an apparent attack and forcing the Capitol and congressional office buildings onto high alert, Capitol Police said.

“One of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of US Capitol Police, told a news conference.

She confirmed that the suspect had also been pronounced dead following the attack.

Capitol police said they responded to reports that someone rammed a vehicle into two officers and a suspect was in custody. “Both officers are injured. All three have been transported to the hospital,” their statement said.

There were multiple media reports the suspect had died. An officer on the scene said the suspect had been shot, which was also reported by multiple media outlets although authorities did not immediately confirm that information.

CNN cited a law enforcement official confirming that at least one of the officers had been stabbed.

The Capitol police said they would hold a briefing at 2:45pm EDT (1845 GMT).

Dozens of police cars, marked and unmarked, raced toward the iconic domed white building, in an unwelcome reminder of the complex being overrun three months ago by thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump on Jan 6.

READ: US charges Proud Boys with conspiracy in Capitol assault that turned deadly

All roads leading to the complex were blocked by police or police officers.

A helicopter was seen hovering overhead and observers were ordered to leave the area. Videos from the scene showed what appeared to be two people on stretchers being loaded into ambulances.

Journalists were told to stay away from windows.

Dozens of National Guard troops, who have been stationed at the Capitol since the January attack, quickly deployed after the incident. In riot gear, they jogged in columns to deploy at the scene and around the complex.

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 Jan 6 rampage.

That assault took place while the House of Representatives and Senate, with the Senate presided over by then-Vice President Mike Pence, was certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s November election victory over the Republican Trump.

At the time Trump’s supporters shouted slogans including “Stop the Steal” and “Hang Mike Pence” as they attacked the Capitol and said they hoped to stop the election certification.

Biden took office on Jan 20.

Members of Congress were not in Washington on Friday, with both the Senate and House of Representatives in recess for the Easter holiday.

Biden also was out of the city. He arrived at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland early on Friday afternoon.

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