A man fatally shot himself after ramming his car into a security barricade at the Capitol early Sunday morning, police said.
U.S. Capitol Police said in a brief statement that an unidentified man exited his vehicle after crashing it around 4 a.m., after which the vehicle “became engulfed in flames.”
The man then “fired several shots into the air” and shot himself as officers approached, police said.
“They had heard the gunshots, and Capitol police officers were responding. As he got just onto the East Front of the Capitol property, one of our officers observed him to put the gun to his head and shoot himself,” USCP Chief Tom Manger said Sunday. “Our officers then made sure that he was not a threat, and then approached him. And, in fact, he was deceased.”
Nobody else was injured in the incident and the man did not seem to be targeting members of Congress, which is in recess, according to the police.
“[I]t does not appear officers fired their weapons,” the Capitol Police said in its statement.
An investigation is underway into the man’s background, according to authorities. D.C. police are “handling the death investigation.”
Manger said it was unclear if the incident was the result of a mental health emergency.
“You know, just a very preliminary check didn’t reveal anything on social media,” he ssaid. “But we haven’t had a chance to notify the next of kin and part of the investigation is we talk to this individual’s family and friends to see, perhaps, if we can get more information from them.” [10:53:09]
The man was not known to Capitol Police prior to this incident, Manger added.
“We do know that the subject has a criminal history over the past ten years or so,” Manger said. “But nothing that, at this point, would link him to anything here at the Capitol.”
The incident comes amid what law enforcement has called heightened concerns of political violence — and in the shadow of alarming attacks at the Capitol in the past two years.
A Capitol Police officer was killed in a car-ramming attack in April 2021 just months after the deadly insurrection in which a violent mob ransacked the building and sent lawmakers temporarily into hiding.
Several officers died following that riot, including some from suicide.