The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

No sign man who fired shots near Capitol was ‘politically motivated,’ police say

Richard A. York III, 29, drove his vehicle into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, fired shots indiscriminately and then killed himself, authorities say

U.S. Capitol Police officers work near a barricade on Capitol Hill, where a man killed himself early Sunday after firing shots into the air. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

Capitol Police said Monday that there was no indication that politics motivated the man who drove his vehicle into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol, fired shots and took his own life.

A day after the incident, there were more questions than answers about why Richard A. York III, a 29-year-old from Delaware, killed himself near the home of Congress, after crashing into a barrier and possibly setting his car ablaze. But police reasserted their earlier statement that politics did not appear to be a driving force, even as law enforcement officials are on edge following an FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club last week.

Days after that search, an armed man tried to breach an FBI field office in Ohio, sparking a standoff that ended when he was shot and killed by law enforcement.

“Although this is an ongoing investigation — there is no indication at this time what happened yesterday was politically motivated,” a Capitol Police spokesman said in a statement Monday.

Around 4 a.m. Sunday, York’s vehicle collided with a barricade at East Capitol and Second streets. He then got out, began walking toward the Capitol, and fired a handgun indiscriminately as he crossed First Street, according to police. At that point, York entered onto Capitol property, where a Capitol Police officer saw him shoot himself in the head, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said during a Sunday news conference.

No one else was injured, and it appears no officers discharged their weapon.

Efforts to reach York’s family Sunday and Monday were not successful.

Police said York’s criminal history includes charges of burglary, theft and assault. Online Pennsylvania court records show several arrests and convictions dating back more than a decade, including a conviction as recently as 2020 for damaged property and simple assault.

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