As if the task of spiritual counseling wasn’t tough enough, cascading events in the District on the eve of Easter weekend confronted local ministers with a stubborn pandemic compounded by violence.

By Easter Sunday, a second attack at the U.S. Capitol within three months left the seat of government in a lockdown with two men dead, one a police officer and the other a Black man who, police said, had struggled with unemployment and emotional problems.

The lockdown was triggered Good Friday afternoon when a vehicle rammed a barricade on the north side of the Capitol, slamming into two U.S. Capitol police officers, killing one officer. The motorist emerged from the car wielding a knife. He was shot dead by police.

The incident occurred at the north barricade vehicle access point on Constitution Avenue, NE at the still fortified Capitol grounds, where fencing was installed in the wake of the riots in January. After the barricade was rammed, police and the National Guard closed the streets surrounding the campus.

Authorities line barriers outside the U.S. Capitol on April 2 after a motorist rammed his vehicle into two Capitol Police officers at one of the barricades. The suspect was fatally shot by authorities after emerging from the vehicle and charging at the two officers, one of whom also later died. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Informer)

Additionally, officials barred entering or exiting all U.S. Capitol campus buildings. Those who remained inside campus buildings were instructed to stay away from windows and to take cover.

The motorist was identified as Noah Green, a 25-year-old man from Indiana, who authorities said was unemployed and wrestling with emotional problems. In online messages, Green described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan and spoke of going through a difficult time.

“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, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), characterized the attack as an example of a dark period in America.

“Maybe that’s the darkness we feel is from when we witness a defense that makes you think that George Floyd’s death was justifiable and Eric Chauvin wasn’t responsible for killing a black man right before our very eyes,” he said referring the death last May Floyd and the trial of Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, for killing him.

“Maybe the darkness we feel is from the fact that 54 years ago today (April 4, 1968) Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn. and look how far we have not come.”

WI Editor D. Kevin McNeir contributed to this story.

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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