A man crashed into a barricade near the US Capitol in washington d.c. early Sunday morning, fired several shots in the air after his vehicle burst into flames, then committed suicide, according to police.
Officials were quick to note that they had not determined a motive for the man’s actions, although they said there was no indication he was targeting members of Congress, who were on vacation at the era.
The man – whose identity has not been revealed – rammed his car into the barricades of East Capitol and Second Streets, a Press statement of the Capitol police announced.
As he got out of his car, the vehicle was engulfed in flames. The man fired a gun several times in the air, prompting the police to approach him.
The man committed suicide as officers approached, according to Capitol Police. No one else was injured.
“At this time, it does not appear that the man was targeting members of Congress, who are on vacation, and it does not appear that any officers fired their weapons,” police said.
Investigators investigated the man’s background on Sunday and did not immediately release any preliminary findings.
The Guardian contacted the DC Medical Examiner’s Office to request the name of the driver in Sunday’s case, but could not get an immediate response.
Sunday’s events reminded some of the April 2021 death of Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans, who was killed when a Virginia man drove his car into a barricade at the facility.
Additionally, in 2013, Capitol police shot and killed a Connecticut woman near a checkpoint after she rammed her car into a White House barricade and fled Pennsylvania.
The drivers in each of those cases suffered from mental illness, Politico reported in its Sunday bulletin.
Sunday’s case also unfolded amid high political tensions after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on August 8.
Trump is being investigated for potential violation of the Espionage Act as well as obstruction of justice for his alleged mishandling of classified documents. The raid has outraged conservative commentators and politicians who still support the ex-president, seeking to portray the episode as unprecedented and unduly politicized, despite the court-approved search warrant at the heart of the case.
Days after the attack, a gunman enraged by the FBI’s search of Trump’s home tried to break into an Ohio field office. This lead to a six-hour showdown which left the lone gunman dejected.
Officials stopped short of linking Sunday’s death to political events in the news. But Washington’s corridors of power sometimes become focal points for people in distress over national politics.
For instance, in April, an American climate activist died after setting himself on fire outside the United States Supreme Court building. Those close to him said he was trying to draw attention to the global impact of climate change at a time when the Supreme Court’s docket contained a number of environmental cases.