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Latest attack pushes Capitol police closer to crisis as lawmakers debate safety vs. public access

Capitol attack lockdown
Posted at 4:51 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 10:16:38-04

WASHINGTON — The death of another U.S. Capitol Police officer has exacerbated problems for the department months after the worst moment in its history — the storming of the Capitol by violent insurrectionists — and placed new urgency on lawmakers considering proposals to bolster the agency.

The head of the Capitol Police union says officers are “reeling” following the death Friday of Officer Billy Evans, who was killed when a car slammed through a security checkpoint on Friday.

The chair of the police union says hundreds of officers are considering retirement or finding work elsewhere.

As Capitol Police officers grapple with another disturbing incident, lawmakers are trying to balance openness with safety at the building.

The sprawling complex has been ringed by security fencing and National Guard troops since the deadly Jan. 6 riot, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump breached the Capitol.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the top Republican on a panel addressing the issue, says the building is “an important symbol of who we are” and it "would be a mistake for fencing to be a permanent part of the Capitol."

As top officials deal with security concerns, investigators now believe the suspect in Friday's incident had been suffering from delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, according to a U.S. official who spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official says investigators are focused on the mental health of the suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, as they work to identify any motive for the attack, and they have talked to Green’s family, who spoke of his increasingly delusional thoughts.

Green was shot to death by police during the incident on Friday after allegedly lunging at officers with a knife.