Nancy Pelosi orders Capitol flags to fly at half mast to honor slain officer

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While most members of Congress were out of Hill on Friday, news of a second violent incident at the Capitol complex in less than three months weighed heavily on many of them. A Capitol police officer was killed on Good Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the Capitol, then emerged wielding a knife. The acting chief of the Capitol Police confirmed that the driver stabbed one of the officers, and authorities subsequently shot the suspect, who died in a hospital.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, ordered the Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff on Friday, her chief of staff, Drew Hamill, tweeted, though the process was delayed because the complex remained closed. for some time after the incident. Pelosi also said in a statement that “the heart of the country has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans. He is a martyr for our democracy ”. President Joe Biden, who traveled to Camp David earlier that day, did not immediately respond to the incident. The White House ended the communications just before 3 p.m. ET on Friday, which means it did not expect to have any more announcements for reporters. However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki learned of the situation on Capitol Hill as it unfolded during a press conference earlier that day. He noted that the president was accompanied by national security assistants who would keep him updated on developments. Earlier in the afternoon, Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, tweeted that he was “praying for the United States Capitol police officers who were attacked on Capitol Hill” and that he was “grateful to all the USCP and first responders are on the scene. ” Following news of the officer’s death, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, tweeted that he was “heartbroken.” “I am praying for the injured officer and his family,” he wrote. “We are indebted to them.” And that’s how several other members of Congress responded as the story unfolded on Friday afternoon.