A man crashed his car into a barricade protecting the US Capitol early Sunday and fired a handgun in the air several times before fatally shooting himself.
Nobody else was hurt, the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement. The man’s vehicle became engulfed in flames as he exited and started shooting, at which point officers attempted to approach the man when he shot himself, the police said.
“At this time, it does not appear the man was targeting any Members of Congress, who are on recess, and it does not appear officers fired their weapons,” according to the statement.
The man’s identity wasn’t immediately released. He had a criminal history but nothing that immediately links him to the Capitol, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said at a press conference Sunday.
Manger said it appears the suspect may have set fire to his own vehicle, and after exiting the burning car he fired a handgun “indiscriminately” before taking his own life.
U.S. law enforcement agencies have faced a wave of threats and political discord ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and after an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida on Aug. 8.
Republicans have publicly criticized the FBI and Department of Justice after federal agents seized documents at Mar-a-Lago bearing the U.S. government’s highest top secret rating as part of an investigation into whether Trump was unlawfully holding on to classified documents.
After the raid, an armed man in Cincinnati tried to breach an FBI building and was fatally shot after an hourslong standoff. At least one media outlet and a Trump aide posted what appeared to be an unsealed search warrant revealing the identities of two agents involved in it.
FBI Director Christopher Wray called the threats against agents and the DOJ “deplorable.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, the highest-ranking member of President Joe Biden’s administration to comment on the raid, also condemned the violent rhetoric.
“Any so-called leader who engages in rhetoric that in any way suggests that law enforcement should be exposed to that kind of danger is irresponsible and can result in dangerous activities,” she said Friday.
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