JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a Capitol Police officer was killed Friday when a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia expressed sorrow and outrage.
The White House ordered flags to fly at half-staff to honor fallen officer William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police force.
“Well, it’s very, very disturbing,” said Congressman Buddy Carter.
Carter is one of the lawmakers from the region who was repulsed by what happened Friday. Carter said he goes out of his way to meet members of the Capitol police force in Washington D.C.
Carter said most if not all of the officers train at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick located in his district.
“We, and, with everyone who is at the Capitol, we lost a member of our family. In, and it’s, it hurts tremendously,” Carter said.
Florida’s two Senators reacted with statements including Rick Scott.
“I am heartbroken by the loss of Officer William “Billy” Evans today,” Scott tweeted. “The brave men and women of the @CapitolPolice have endured a tremendously challenging year and our thoughts and prayers are with these officers and the Evans family during this incredibly difficult time.”
“We are all horrified by this tragic & cowardly attack on U.S. Capitol police officers. We are heartbroken for their families, loves ones & the entire force. May God bless them in this time of unbearable grief & protect them in the days ahead,” Senator Marco Rubio said.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 25-year-old Noah Green. Investigators were digging into his background and examining whether he had any mental health history as they tried to discern a motive.
Carter brought up the issue of mental health to News4Jax.
“I think it’s all of us being cooped up has made for a situation where mental health issues are, are really coming out and we just need to keep that in mind and we need to be there for each other and we need to help each other,” Carter said.
Congressman Al Lawson also said he’s deeply concerned.
“I would like to thank the United States Capitol Police who heroically put their lives on the line every day for our safety. This has been a difficult year for the thousands of Americans who work on Capitol Hill. We must lean on one another during these challenging times.”
And Rep. Michael Waltz shared his thoughts.
“What a tough year for the Capitol Police -- all police officers,” Waltz said. Every man and woman who, whether a first responder or police officer or a military member, just the entire -- all of America should be thanking them day in and day out for keeping us safe.”