Police ID man who drove car into barricade near Capitol before killing himself

The charred remains of a vehicle at a security barricade two blocks east of the U.S. Capitol building on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (Courtesy Erik Cox Photography)

A Delaware man crashed his car into a barricade and allegedly set it ablaze before firing several shots into the air and fatally shooting himself near the U.S. Capitol early Sunday morning.

U.S. Capitol Police said 29-year-old Richard A. York III, a Delaware resident, crashed his car into a barricade at the intersection of D.C.’s East Capitol and 2nd streets, between the Supreme Court and Library of Congress, just after 4 a.m. Sunday.

Law enforcement made York’s name public on Sunday afternoon after notifying his next of kin, adding it was still unclear why he chose to drive to the Capitol complex.

U.S. Capitol Police chief Tom Manger said York might have set his car on fire after striking the barricade.

“It does appear that it was not the collision with the barricade that caused the fire,” Manger said. “It appears that the individual may have started the fire himself as he was getting out of the car.”

Manger said York then began walking toward the Capitol while firing several shots from a handgun “indiscriminately.”

Officers said they heard the gunfire and approached York as he shot himself. No one else was hurt and law enforcement are not believed to have fired their weapons.

WTOP's Mitchell Miller near the scene where an armed man crashed into a barricade near US Capitol

Capitol Police are investigating York’s background.

“The subject has a criminal history over the past 10 years or so, but nothing that, at this point, would link him to anything here at the Capitol,” Manger said at a news conference later on Sunday morning.

According to Pennsylvania court records, York was previously arrested drug charges, and was sentenced for simple assault, terroristic threats, burglary, shoplifting and property damage over the course of 11 years. 

“Right now I’m looking at the burned out area in front of the barricade,” WTOP’s Mitch Miller, from the scene on Sunday, said. “This is the area near the two buildings near the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Obviously there’s still a lot to investigate following this violent incident.”

Photos after the incident showed the roadway beneath where the car went up in flames is scorched.

York does not appear to have been targeting Members of Congress, as Congress is on recess.

The incident came at a time where officers are on alert for potential attacks on government buildings following the attack on the U.S. Capitol during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and more recently, the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

In April 2021, a man drove into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol, killing one police officer, William “Billy” Evans, and injuring a second. Evans was an 18-year veteran of the force.

There is no indication the April 2021 attack is related to Sunday’s events.

WTOP’s Luke Lukert and Mitchell Miller contributed to this report.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up