Capitol police officer who survived fatal car-ramming attack released from hospital as motive remains unclearavril 5, 2021
The U.S. Capitol Police officer who survived injuries sustained when a man armed with a knife rammed his vehicle into a barricade blocking access to the Capitol building late last week has been released from the hospital.
Video shared online showed a Capitol Police officer identified by local outlets as Ken Shaver being brought outside of the hospital in a wheelchair on Sunday. The officer, seen wearing a face mask and plain clothes, with a brace on his left leg, was greeted by cheers and applause from a crowd of law enforcement and medical personnel.
Shaver then stands from the wheelchair and walks toward the vehicle waiting to pick him up. The extent of his injuries is unclear.
As the investigation into the incident that happened on Good Friday continues, authorities so far have said the driver, identified as 25-year-old Noah Green, crashed into two officers and the North Barricade by the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.
Surveillance footage showed he then exited the car armed with a knife and lunged at the officers before they fatally shot him, authorities said. Green later died at the hospital.
Capitol Police announced later Friday that William “Billy” Evans had also died from “injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant.” Evans, a member of the Capitol Police for 18 years, began his service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said.
“Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Pittman added.
Authorities have not clarified how Evans was fatally injured.
In the chaotic moments after the attack, law enforcement officials initially believed the suspect may have stabbed Evans, but rumors also swirled that Evans may have been struck by friendly fire when police started shooting at the suspect.
Capitol Police did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
The motive also remains under investigation, and Capitol Police did not return an email from Fox News asking whether Green may have purposely planned the attack ahead of the Christian observance of Easter Sunday. Green previously described himself in online posts that have since been removed as a follower of the Nation of Islam and its longtime leader, Louis Farrakhan, the Associated Press reported.
In some of the messages captured by the group SITE, which tracks online activity, Green described being under government thought control, said he was being watched and spoke of going through a difficult time when he leaned on his faith. An unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press on Saturday that investigators are focused on Green’s mental health and believe he suffered delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
The attack comes about three months after the Capitol was stormed by rioters attempting to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over former President Donald Trump.
Though his official cause of death still has not been released, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died at the hospital after physically engaging with rioters on Jan. 6. Two men were charged in March with assaulting Sicknick and other officers that day with a chemical spray. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood also died by suicide days after responding to the insurrection.
After Friday’s fatal attack, the head of the union representing rank-and-file Capitol Police officers said they are “reeling” over the death of Evans. Hundreds of officers are considering retirement or finding jobs elsewhere, Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in a statement released Sunday.
The Capitol Police force is 223 officers short of its authorized level of more than 2,000, he said, and “is struggling to meet existing mission requirements even with the officers working massive amounts of forced overtime.”
“In the next 3-5 years we have another 500 officers who will be eligible to retire. Many of these officers could put in their retirement papers tomorrow,” Papathanasiou said. “I’ve had many younger officers confide in me that they’re actively looking at other agencies and departments right now.”
A final security review of the Capitol presented last month by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré before the House of Representatives in closed-door sessions found that U.S. Capitol Police were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained” to secure the Capitol and Congress members against a large, violent mob on Jan. 6.
The 15-page report recommended a 24/7 “Quick Reaction Force” be established amid growing security threats to the building, called for a renewed push to fill the 233 open positions on the force and for Congress to fund 350 new jobs and new fencing systems and other infrastructure. Honoré’s team also wants Congress to give the Capitol Police chief new authority to seek National Guard support in a crisis.
“We support Gen. Honoré’s recommendations and had the opportunity to meet with him and his team the day before Officer Evans was tragically killed,” Papathanasiou said. “As I explained to him, these improvements are critical, but our first priority has to be retaining our existing officers. There are immediate steps Congress can take to address this. The question is, will Congress do so?”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.