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Man rams barricade near Capitol, fires shots, then kills himself, police say

Aug. 14, 2022 Updated Sun., Aug. 14, 2022 at 7:25 p.m.

A U.S. Capitol Police Officer works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sunday after a man drove his car into a barricade and fired shots into the air before turning his gun on himself, police said.  (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
A U.S. Capitol Police Officer works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sunday after a man drove his car into a barricade and fired shots into the air before turning his gun on himself, police said. (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
By Fredrick Kunkle and Lizzie Johnson Washington Post

WASHINGTON – A man drove his vehicle into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday and fired shots into the air before taking his own life, Capitol Police said.

No one else was injured, and it appears no officers discharged their weapons during the incident, which occurred about 4 a.m.

Police said the man, identified as 29-year old Richard A. York III, of Delaware, did not appear to be targeting members of Congress, who are on recess.

At a news conference, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said officers “did not hear the individual say anything” during the incident. He said investigators were exploring York’s social media and running his name through databases, but had so far found nothing tying him to the Capitol.

“We don’t have any information that would indicate his motivation at this point,” Manger said.

Police said the vehicle caught fire as York was getting out of it. Manger said investigators were exploring whether he might have started the blaze, as it did not appear to have been sparked by the collision.

The incident near one of the most important symbols of national government comes at a jittery time, with law enforcement on alert following an FBI raid on former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club last week and other events that have inflamed political tensions.

The FBI’s search, part of an investigation into whether Trump improperly retained highly classified government documents, has led to angry denunciations by Republicans accusing the Biden administration of politically motivated overreach. Days after the search, an armed man attempted to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati, sparking a standoff that ended when he was shot and killed by law enforcement.

Security fencing still remains in place near the Supreme Court – which had been the scene of intense demonstrations over abortion rights after the high court overturned Roe v. Wade – not far from Sunday’s incident.

Manger said York’s vehicle collided with a barricade at East Capitol and Second streets, and he got out and began walking toward the Capitol. York, firing a handgun indiscriminately as he crossed First Street, entered onto Capitol property, where a Capitol Police officer saw him shoot himself in the head, Manger said.

Capitol Police said investigators have begun looking into York’s background; D.C. police have taken over the investigation into his death. Manger said investigators had found addresses for him in Delaware and Pennsylvania and a criminal history.

Online Pennsylvania court records show York’s criminal record includes convictions going back to 1993 for several relatively minor offenses, including simple assault, criminal mischief, burglary, making terroristic threats, and illegal possession of drugs. The court records show that in the most recent case, in August 2020, he was sentenced to a period of incarceration of up to 23 months for assault.

Manger said law enforcement at all levels have been working with each other to monitor social media and other outlets for possible threats.

“Law enforcement nationwide is on a higher alert due to the climate,” he said.

In April 2021, a man drove his car into two Capitol Police officers standing in front of a barricade. One of the officers died; a third officer shot the man after he got out of his car with a knife, police said.

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