PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington State officials ordered flags at the Capitol building in Olympia to be lowered at half-mast to honor Capitol Police Officer William Evans, who was killed after an attacker in Washington D.C. rammed his car into a security barricade at the Capitol complex
Meanwhile Washington State Patrol has beefed up its security around the Washington State Capitol Building.
“We have no credible threats at this point but on Jan. 6th, as you recall, there was activity in D.C., and there was activity in Olympia,” said Chris Loftis, spokesperson for WSP. “Whether it was coordinated or connected or just someone exploiting a situation, we don’t know.”
In this time of uncertainty, it’s WSP’s job to anticipate the worst and be prepared.
“We moved the perimeter checkpoints for some of the vehicular traffic out a little bit further, added a layer so that anyone coming with an authorized visit to come onto the campus with a vehicle would have to check in twice basically,” he said.
Loftis said they’ve also added more troopers in the pedestrian traffic area. With law enforcement and citizens injured during a recent confrontation, the added security is being done out of an abundance of caution.
“A couple of weekneds ago, we had groups that came onto the capitol campus … that were from opposing sides of the political spectrum and that’s where we’ve seen the real challenges,” Loftis said.
He said some confrontations at the Capitol have escalated to violence.
“It’s gone from name-calling to rock-throwing. to fights,” he said. “We even had gunfire a couple times in December.”
Loftis said WSP is also sending condolences to members of the D.C. Capitol Police and the family of the fallen officer.
“Since we have some troopers doing the exact same job today, just simply protecting the people, the place, and the process of our government, it may seem mundane, but it has real risk associated with it, we were honored by his service and saddened by his sacrifice.”