The US Capitol building was placed under lockdown and National Guard troops mobilised, after a car rammed into two police officers by an assailant who then approached them with a knife, before being shot. He was later said to have died.
Three months after hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the building in an effort to stop the ratification of Joe Biden’s victory, the legislature was again the scene of intense drama amid another security threat to the the heart of the nation’s democratic apparatus.
US Capitol Police said it was responding to “the North Barricade vehicle access point along Independence Avenue for reports someone rammed a vehicle into two USCP officers”.
It added: “A suspect is in custody. Both officers are injured. All three have been transported to the hospital.”
Reports said the incident took place a day after a high-security barrier – erected in the aftermath of the Jan 6 riot- had been removed.
A reporter for Fox News said she watched several people taken away in an ambulance after being placed into stretchers. Police were also seen watching somebody lying on the ground.
US Capitol on lockdown after two police officers rammed and suspect shot – follow live
NBC News veteran correspondent Pete Williams reported that after striking the two US Capitol Police officers, the driver jumped out of the car with a knife and was shot by Capitol police.
The incident took place as Congress was on Spring break, and therefore fewer legislators or their staff would have been in the complex in Washington DC than usual. When hundreds of supporters of Mr Trump stormed the building, the legislature was holding a Joint Session of Congress and was packed with senators, representatives and then vice president Mike Pence.
Reports said Joe Biden, was either at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, or else on his way there.
Nevertheless, shortly after the incident reports said the National Guard was again mobilised and television networks broadcast footage of scores of troops marching down one of the corridors of the Capitol complex.