WASHINGTON - A man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday and then began firing gunshots in the air before fatally shooting himself, according to police, who said he did not seem to be targeting any member of Congress.
The incident happened just before 4 a.m. at a vehicle barricade at East Capitol Street NE and 2nd Street SE in Washington.
The FBI seized former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at a time when law enforcement authorities across the country are facing increasing threats and federal officials have warned about the potential attacks on government buildings in the days since the FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.
The attack was 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. Many on Capitol Hill remain on edge after supporters of the then-president stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Authorities said the man, identified as Richard A. York III, 29, of Delaware, crashed into the barricade and that as he was getting out of the car, the vehicle became engulfed in flames. The man opened fire, firing several shots into the air as police approached.
Capitol Police said the man shot himself as the officers approached him. He was later pronounced dead.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said officers did not hear the man say anything before he opened fire indiscriminately in the street with a handgun and walked toward the Capitol building. The chief said the man is not believed to have set his car on fire because the collision did not appear to cause the blaze.
Manger said police officers at the scene saw the man fatally shoot himself as he approached.
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 did not appear that the man had been targeting a member of Congress, and that investigators are looking at the man's background as they try to discern a motive. Both the House and Senate are in recess and very few staff work in the Capitol complex at that hour.
The police do not believe any of the officers returned fire, and the authorities said no other injuries were reported.