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Capitol Police reeling after latest attack
Capitol Police
A car rammed a Capitol Police barrier on Friday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Capitol Police are struggling.

One officer was killed and another injured when a driver slammed into them at a barricade Friday afternoon. The attack comes after officers were overrun and injured when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, breaking through insufficient barriers and pushing their way to within steps of lawmakers. One officer died and another killed himself.

Scores of officers are considering early retirement, top leaders have resigned and those in office face increasing criticism. Security concerns over the events of the past four months may alter not only how the department operates, but also whether the historically public grounds can remain open.

The head of the Capitol Police union said officers are “reeling” following the death Friday of Officer Billy Evans, who was on the force for 18 years. He was struck at a Capitol entrance by a man who, according to investigators, suffered from delusions and suicidal thoughts.

Evans’ death comes after Officer Brian Sicknick, who was among hundreds of officers trying to fight off rioters without the necessary equipment or planning, died following the Jan. 6 riot. Another officer died by suicide shortly afterward.

Hundreds of officers are considering retirement or finding jobs elsewhere, union chair Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement. “They continue to work even as we rapidly approach a crisis in morale and force numbers,” he said, noting officers are dealing with “massive amounts of forced overtime.”

Dozens of officers were injured Jan. 6 and others have been held out of work during an internal investigation into the department’s response, including the officer who fatally shot a 35-year-old woman attempting to climb through a broken window as she and others massed at a barricaded doorway. That's further depleted a force that has more than 200 vacant positions, roughly 10% of its authorized force level.

In the months since the insurrection, many officers have routinely worked 12-hour days or longer to protect the building.

“This rips the scab off and continues to provide a level of uncertainty and worry about the workplace and what’s happening there,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who chairs a subcommittee overseeing Capitol Police funding. “And I think this is very personal for so many of us who have come to really love and respect the Capitol Police even more than we already had, because of what they did on Jan. 6, and then immediately turning it around to make sure that the inauguration was safe.”

Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman received a vote of no confidence from the union in February, reflecting widespread distrust among the rank and file. Pittman was assistant chief in charge of intelligence during the riot and has admitted she did not see an FBI assessment the day before warning of “war” at the Capitol.

Steven Sund, who resigned in January as the agency’s chief amid scrutiny over whether the police force was adequately prepared for the riot, told The Associated Press that officers he had spoken to were “on edge.”

The Capitol Police are not a typical law enforcement agency. The roughly 2,000 officers are responsible solely for protecting Congress — its members, visitors and facilities, an area of about 16 acres.

The department dates back to the early 1800s, after President John Quincy Adams asked that a police force be established to help protect the building following incidents there. Now they have an operating budget of $460 million.

The driver in Friday's incident, 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot by officers shortly after emerging from the vehicle wielding a knife, authorities said. Green died later at a hospital. There is no known connection between the insurrection and Green, who described himself in online posts as being under government thought control and being watched.