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Man kills himself after ramming Capitol barrier

China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-16 09:41

A US Capitol Police Officer works near a police barricade on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Sunday. DANIEL SLIM/AFP

WASHINGTON-A man drove his car into a barricade near the United States Capitol early on Sunday and then began firing gunshots in the air before fatally shooting himself, police said.

The incident happened just before 4 am at a vehicle barricade set at East Capitol Street NE and 2nd Street SE in Washington.

The attack is reminiscent of an incident when a man drove a vehicle into two Capitol Police officers at a checkpoint in April 2021, killing an 18-year veteran of the force. And many on Capitol Hill remain on edge after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.

Authorities said the man, identified as 29-year-old Richard A. York III of Delaware, crashed his car into the barricade and the vehicle became engulfed in flames as he was getting out of the car. The man then opened fire, firing several shots into the air as police approached.

Capitol Police said the man shot himself as officers neared. He was later pronounced dead.

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said officers did not hear the man say anything before he opened fire "indiscriminately" on the street with a handgun and walked toward the Capitol building.

Authorities were investigating whether the man might have set his car on fire, Manger said, as the collision did not appear to cause the blaze.

Police officers at the scene saw the man fatally shoot himself as they approached, Manger said. The chief said investigators located addresses for the man in Delaware and Pennsylvania and learned he had a criminal history in the past decade, though his motive remained unclear and he had no links to the Capitol.

"We don't have any information that would indicate his motivation at this point," Manger said.

Police said "it does not appear the man was targeting any member of Congress" and that investigators are examining the man's background as they work to try to discern a motive. Both the House and Senate are in recess and very few staff members were at work in the Capitol complex at that hour.

The death was being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department, which did not immediately identify or give any details of his motives.

There are security barricades around the Capitol complex checkpoints that are closely guarded.

Authorities said no other injuries were reported and police do not believe any officers returned fire.

Agencies via Xinhua

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