Suspect in deadly US Capitol attack was Farrakhan follower, raged against gov’t
US media reports identify attacker as Noah Green of Indiana; posted online about 'mind control,' called US government the '#1 enemy of Black people'
The suspect in Friday’s deadly ramming attack on the US Capitol was a follower of the Black nationalist Nation of Islam movement led by the anti-Semitic minister Louis Farrakhan, according to US media reports.
The suspect was identified as Noah Green, a 25-year-old from Indiana. He smashed a blue sedan into a barrier at the Capitol complex, then emerged from the vehicle with a knife and lunged at officers who shot him. One officer was killed in the assault, another wounded, and the attacker died at a hospital.
Green had posted speeches and articles by Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad, the former leader of the organization, on his Facebook page. The account was taken down on Friday, The New York Times reported.
The Nation of Islam posts discussed the decline of the US, including a Farrakhan speech Green shared on March 17 called “The Divine Destruction of America.” On the same day, he posted a photo showing he had made a donation to a Virginia chapter of the Nation of Islam. Green also posted on social media about the “end times” and anti-Christ.
He said in a post last month that he was struggling during the pandemic and called on his friends to join him in studying Nation of Islam teachings.
In a recent Facebook post, Green spoke of numerous personal problems, saying he was unemployed and had been “tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life.” Green said Farrakhan and his faith had been carrying him through.
“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote. “I have suffered multiple home break ins, food poisonings, assaults, unauthorized operations in the hospital, mind control.”
“My faith is one of the only things that has been able to carry me through these times and my faith is centered on the belief of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as Jesus, the Messiah, the final divine reminder in our midst,” he said.
CNN reported that Green had said he recently lost his job and had medical problems.
An Instagram account that appeared to belong to Green shared Farrakhan videos less than two hours before the attack.
A caption on one of the posts read, “The U.S. Government is the #1 enemy of Black people!”
Another post on the account said 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.”
Green graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, in 2019, and had a Virginia driver’s license.
Farrakhan is a longtime, vehement anti-Semite who has railed against “wicked Jews,” praised Adolf Hitler, condemned the “synagogue of Satan,” likened Jews to termites and accused them of controlling the US government. He also has a history of homophobia.
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines the Nation of Islam as a hate group for the “deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders, including top minister Louis Farrakhan.” The group is rejected by mainstream Muslims.
The attack was another blow to the Capitol Police as it still struggles to recover from the January 6 mob assault on the seat of US democracy by supporters of former US president Donald Trump.
Friday’s attack forced the Capitol into lockdown less than three months after the mob assault on Congress and marked the second line-of-duty death this year for the department. Nearly 140 Capitol Police officers were injured in the January riot.
Video of the Friday attack showed the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. The driver stabbed one of the officers, Pittman said. At least one officer shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.
Videos from after the attack showed a police canine unit inspecting the vehicle and law enforcement and paramedics could be seen caring for at least one unidentified individual. The attack occurred just after 1 p.m. local time.
Police identified the slain officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit. The second officer was in stable condition, the US Capitol Police said on Friday night.
It’s still unknown whether Green acted alone, what his motives were and the identity of the second officer.
US President Joe Biden said in a statement he and First Lady Jill Biden were “heartbroken” over the killing of Evans.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it,” Biden said.
The Bidens departed for Easter weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat shortly before the attack.
Vice President Kamala Harris said the fallen officer “made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the slain officer “a martyr for our democracy.”
“Today, America’s heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi ordered flags lowered to half-staff on the Capitol in the victim’s honor, and Biden ordered the flags lowered at the White House, while the Senate’s chief Republican, Mitch McConnell, offered prayers.
“I’m heartbroken for the officer killed today defending our Capitol and for his family. I’m praying for the officer injured and his family,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Authorities said that there wasn’t an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism, though the Capitol was put on lockdown as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the January 6 riot.
Investigators were digging into the suspect’s background and examining whether he had any history of mental health problems as they tried to discern a motive. They were working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.
The crash and shooting happened at a security checkpoint near the Capitol typically used by senators and staff on weekdays, though most are away from the building during the current recess. The attack occurred about 100 yards (91 meters) from the entrance of the building on the Senate side of the Capitol. One witness, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, said he was finishing a Good Friday service nearby when he suddenly heard three shots ring out.
The US Capitol complex was placed on temporary lockdown after the incident and staff were told they could not enter or exit buildings. It was lifted after some two hours.
Pittman said the suspect did not appear to have been on police’s radar. But the attack underscores that the building and campus — and the officers charged with protecting them — remain potential targets for violence.
The officer who died Friday is the seventh Capitol Police member to die in the line of duty in the department’s history. Two officers, one from Capitol Police and another from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, died by suicide following the January 6 attack.
The attack comes as the Washington region remains on edge nearly three months after the mob of armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Biden’s presidential win.
Five people, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, died in the assault inspired by Trump’s groundless claims that he had lost the November presidential election due to massive fraud.
Since then security officials have said there is an ongoing threat from extreme-right groups and some Trump supporters.
More than 300 people have been charged in the January attack, including members of armed extremists groups including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and 100 more are expected to be charged, according to Justice Department court filings.