Capitol Police Officer Killed in Attack

A loon wolf terrorist who followed Louis Farrakhan was responsible.

Less than three months after hundreds of people associated with then-President Trump stormed the US Capitol, a man rammed his truck through a Capitol Police barrier, killing one officer and injuring another. While most of us naturally assumed this attack was related, it appears to be a one-off incident.

CNN (“Capitol Police officer killed, another injured after suspect rams car into police barrier outside building“):

One US Capitol Police officer has died and another is injured after a suspect rammed a vehicle into a police barricade outside the Capitol building Friday afternoon, the department’s acting chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters during a press briefing roughly two hours after initial reports of the attack first surfaced.

The officer was identified by Pittman later Friday as Officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force and a member of its “First Responders Unit.”

“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant,” she said in a statement not long after telling reporters the name of the officer would not be released until his family was notified.

During the press briefing, Pittman said the suspect in the attack, who brandished a knife after ramming his vehicle into a police barricade on Constitution Avenue and was subsequently shot by officers, had also died.

Federal and local law enforcement sources told CNN that the suspect has been identified as Noah Green. One federal source told CNN he was 25 years old.

An investigation into the attack is ongoing, Pittman said, but the immediate danger appears to have subsided. USCP lifted an hours-long lockdown of the Capitol Friday afternoon after law enforcement determined the “external security threat” had been cleared.

But while the suspect was quickly neutralized, the deadly incident undoubtedly serves as a stark reminder of the violent insurrection that occurred less than three months ago and the persistent security concerns that have been top of mind for many on Capitol Hill in the time since, despite a recent ramping down of some additional protective measures.

I got a news alert on my phone just before a meeting yesterday and by the time it was over the incident had been contained. But, if I had to be money, I would have assumed it was some right-winger. But, no.

Pittman said Friday that the suspect, Green, was not known to USCP before Friday’s attack. A review of Green’s social media shows he posted in the weeks prior that he had lost his job and suffered medical ailments, and said he believed the federal government was targeting him with “mind control.”

Less than two hours before he was shot and killed, Green posted a number of Instagram stories on an account that appears to belong to him, including links to ​other Instagram videos of Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking.”

The U.S. Government is the #1 enemy of Black people!” a caption on one video read. In another post on the Instagram account, Green wrote last week that he believed Farrakhan had saved him “after the terrible afflictions I have suffered presumably by the CIA and FBI, government agencies of the United States of America.”

The New York Times (“Suspect in Capitol attack appears to have been a follower of Louis Farrakhan.”) has a bit more on the perpetrator:

On Facebook, Mr. Green had posted speeches and articles written by Mr. Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975, that discussed the decline of America. Two law enforcement officials confirmed that the Facebook page, which was taken down on Friday, had belonged to Mr. Green.

Mr. Green posted on Facebook about his personal struggles, especially during the pandemic.

“To be honest, these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote. “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.”

He also spoke on Facebook about the “end times” and the anti-Christ. On March 17, he posted a photo of a donation he had made to the Norfolk, Va., chapter of the Nation of Islam, along with a video of a Farrakhan speech titled “The Divine Destruction of America.”

Later that day, he encouraged his friends to join him in studying the teachings of Mr. Farrakhan and Mr. Muhammad.

Mr. Green was born in West Virginia, attended high school in Virginia, then enrolled in Glenville State College where he played football before transferring to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. He played defensive back on the Christopher Newport football team and graduated in 2019 with a degree in finance.

In December 2020, he petitioned to change his name to Noah Zaeem Muhammad but failed to appear at his hearing in Indianapolis last Tuesday.

While Fox News and the ADL will surely use this to rehearse their brief against Farrakhan, who is a truly vile figure, and the seeming political motivation will have some trotting out the “terrorism” label, this strikes me as most likely to be a case of what Max Abrams has dubbed “loon wolf terrorism.” Whether he was “radicalized” by Farrakhan’s extremist and eliminationist rhetoric, the perpetrator here as clearly unwell and in rather desperate need of treatment.

Officer Evans’ family, friends, and colleagues of course deserve our sympathy here for their tragic and senseless loss. But Green’s loved ones have to be in a very different kind of pain. The man is a recent graduate of a good university with a difficult degree that he earned while also playing football. On paper, then, he seemed to have a very bright future ahead of him.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Police, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Lounsbury says:

    Given the interview of his family members (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/noah-green-capitol-attack/2021/04/02/74f75802-93fe-11eb-a74e-1f4cf89fd948_story.html) it rather seems that this person simply had a paranoid psychotic break and really one shouldn’t ascribe any particular politics to this one way or another.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @Lounsbury: Honestly, that has become my default starting position for these incidents over the years. Absent strong evidence of group behavior, I tend to be dubious of the “stochastic terrorism” argument, regardless of ideology.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A loon wolf terrorist who followed Louis Farrakhan was responsible.

    He was a bit loony.

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  4. Jim Brown 32 says:

    This is bull$h*t and simply a way to get Farrakhan’s name in the news. The Nation of Islam was a big part of getting several of my family members to clean up their lives. NOI did what the church couldn’t do.

    I have told many of my Conservative colleagues that over the the years, Farrakhan has spoken at hundreds of black churches. If they were in those pews–they too would have shouted Amen. First and foremost their message is personal responsibility–what goes into your body and the choices you make for yourself and inside of your community. Second, their message is Gov’t will not save Black people–we have to help ourselves.

    Does Farrakhan say salacious things? Absolutely, in a sense, he has too. Its not as true today but up until the late 90s–no “black leader” could be seen as being soft on whitey–you would simply have no credibility within the community. You really couldn’t say there was no FBI, CIA, or Jewish plot to destroy black people–and attract people to your message. The community would have believed you were a plant by said organization to steer them off a cliff. Sharpton said similar things until he figured out there was a line he could cross that would cost him money he could extort out of corporate america to ease their race guilt.

    I don’t know if Farrakhan believes those things or not–I do know its about 2% of his message. The 2% that gets amplified so that white America believes that’s all the NOI and Farrakhan is about. Are they about Black separatism? Yes, from the standpoint that felt that integration played into the primary malady of the Black community: Black people hated themselves because of their colored skin. “This is why artists like James Brown wrote songs like “Im Black and Im proud”. This is why “Black Pride” is not the same as “White Pride”. There are some interviews on Youtube somewhere with black wet nurses in the 60s and their opinions on civil rights. Their position was that if God would have wanted them to have Civil Rights–he would have made them to be born white. This was not an outlier opinion in this time period and is something white people simply cannot fathom–the color of their skin being a punishment from God.

    In aggregate–this is still problem with the over 40 demographic in Black America–expectations of inferiority. When I a kid–if you said you wanted to be an Astronaut–almost everybody would say “son there aren’t any Black astronauts’. When a community is driven by what previous people in the community have achieved–it becomes a self-licking ice cream cone of whatever flavor the ice cream is. Good or bad. Look across all the pillars of societal professions–the only one dominated by Blacks is sports and to a lesser extent entertainment. So the implicit lesson is that you can only do well if you can entertain white people. 99% of black children back then were influenced by those verbal and observed signals. No black doctors, engineers, scientists, bankers, financiers, entrepreneurs, elected leaders, etc.

    Black children today are less influenced like previous generations were– but then again–we have had significant breakthroughs in representation. Obviously, the biggest is Barack Obama because when a black child says he wants to be President–NOBODY from the old guard can say, “there aren’t any black presidents”.

    NOI is “mostly” a part of the solution and so is Farrakhan. This killer is a loon–end of story. He would pervert any ideology for his own ends. His name is the article is click bait.

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    As a society we don’t know quite how to digest mental illness. Our sense of right and wrong presupposes a common baseline reality and this guy was not participating fully in reality. But I don’t have a clear sense of where to draw the line. Are Qnuts mentally ill? Should we be feeling compassion for them? The line between fanatic and sick person is hard to define.

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  6. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..The line between fanatic and sick person is hard to define.

    When my schizophrenic mother, whose given name was Beulah and middle name was Esther fanatically proclaimed that she was the Beulah and the Esther of the Bible and that God would strike her husband, my father, dead so she would be free to marry the minister of our church we knew she was sick.
    Unfortunately others who I have known to suffer from schizophrenia do not behave in ways that provide such a bright line.
    Compassion for sure but watch out!

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    A very small percentage of mentally ill individuals are violent and an even small percent are considered dangerous. Occasionally someone will strike out when paranoid and feeling cornered, to them they are defending themselves and I wouldn’t consider that individual violent. I worked in mental health and have been popped. An MI individual is far more likely to harm themselves rather than another, unfortunately an MI individual’s first violent act can be serious and deadly. Again this is extremely rare.

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Farrakhan should be in jail for ordering the murder of Malcolm X.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    One thing to note here:

    Once controlled for other social factors (particularly substance abuse), people suffering from mental illness are not significantly more violent then the rest of society, so acting as though it explains things like this only serves to further stigmatize a vulnerable population that’s already far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it.

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