Calls are growing to ramp up security once again at the US Capitol and enhance training after a policeman was killed and another injured in a car ramming attack.
Officer William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, was killed after Noah Green, 25, ploughed his car into a security barrier on Capitol Hill on Friday afternoon before leaping out with a knife.
The question of security at the Capitol has generated a heated debate in Congress amid a highly politicised environment following the Jan 6 riot and former president Donald Trump's role in inciting his supporters to violence.
Many Republicans had pushed for security procedures to be relaxed, downplaying any potential threat and calling the measures excessive. The Capitol Police last week began taking down some of the security fencing around the outer perimeter of the complex, easing up on checkpoints and allowing cars to drive closer to the halls of Congress.
"This rips the scab off, and continues to provide a level of uncertainty and worry about the workplace and what’s happened there,” Tim Ryan, a Democrat Representative for Ohio and the leader of a subcommittee that funds the Capitol Police, told The New York Times. “I think everything is going to be re-evaluated after today,” he said.
He added that lawmakers were exploring the security practices at other capitals, including speaking to Israeli officials about how they protect the Knesset parliament building, as part of potential permanent security changes at the complex.
Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate Majority Leader, said on Saturday that the Senate Committees are now conducting bipartisan reviews to ensure the Capitol is as secure as possible while also remaining accessible to the public.
Retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré, who carried out a six-week review of Capitol security after January 6, urged congressmen to take emerging risks more seriously and provide funding to increase manpower, fortify the building and enhance training to protect officers.
The attack was a worrying sign that since the riot the Capitol has become a magnet for angry or disturbed people.
It emerged on Saturday that Green, a former college American Football star from West Virginia, struggled with his mental health.
Green described himself on a now-deleted Facebook page as a follower of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist movement, and spoke of going through a difficult time where he leaned on his faith.
More recently he had posted about his personal struggles, especially during the pandemic. He also wrote about the “end times” and the Antichrist.