The man who rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol, killing one of them before he was shot to death by police, had been suffering from delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Saturday. Investigators believe it was an isolated incident from a disturbed young man.
Video of the Friday afternoon attack shows the driver emerging from the crashed car with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. Police shot the suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, who died at a hospital.
Investigators are increasingly focused on Green’s mental health as they work to identify any motive for the attack, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators had talked to Green’s family, who spoke of his increasingly delusional thoughts.
In online posts since removed, Green described being under government thought control and said he was being watched. He described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam and its longtime leader, Louis Farrakhan, and spoke of going through a difficult time when he leaned on his faith. Some of the messages were captured by the group SITE, which tracks online activity.
“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote in late March. “I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.”
It was the second line-of-duty death this year for the U.S. Capitol Police, still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection. The attack underscored that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.
Authorities installed a giant fence around the Capitol perimeter and for months restricted traffic along the roads closest to the building, but they had begun pulling back some of the emergency measures. And the most recent incident could delay the gradual reopening of the building’s grounds to the public.
“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred today.