WASHINGTON—A man died early Sunday near the US Capitol building after driving his car into a barricade and firing shots into the air before turning his gun on himself, police said.
A statement from the US Capitol Police (USCP) did not identify the man or speculate on a motive.
The incident occurred amid heightened tensions and violence-filled chatter on social media following the FBI’s surprise seizure of several boxes of classified government documents from former president Donald Trump’s Florida resort estate.
The Supreme Court, still behind security fencing after its bitterly divisive June ruling on abortion, is also nearby on Capitol Hill.
The police statement said the man drove his car into a vehicle barricade at East Capitol Street and Second Street shortly after 4:00 am (0800 GMT).
“While the man was getting out of the car, it became engulfed in flames,” USCP said.
“The man then fired several shots into the air.”
When officers responded to the sound of gunfire and approached the man, “he shot himself,” police said.
No one else was hurt.
The Congress is currently in recess, and police said “it does not appear the man was targeting any members of Congress.”
The DC Metropolitan Police Department is leading an investigation into the man and his background.
US Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said authorities were waiting to notify the man’s next of kin.
“We do know that the subject has a criminal history over the past 10 years or so,” Manger said, according to Politico, “but nothing that at this point would link him to anything here at the Capitol.”
USCP officer Billy Evans was killed in April 2021 after a man rammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol and then brandished a knife, prompting officers to shoot him.