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Man crashes car into barricade outside U.S. Supreme Court, shoots himself dead

A razor wire fence surrounds the Supreme Court across the street from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in January 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ca2cac085e6275b31806d4ed0f7dd9f9/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A razor wire fence surrounds the Supreme Court across the street from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in January 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A man crashed his car into a barricade outside the U.S. Supreme Court, about a block from Capitol, then shot himself dead early Sunday morning, police said.

Richard A. York III, a 29-year-old man from Delaware, drove his car into the vehicle barricade at East Capitol Street and Second Street just after 4 a.m., Capitol Police said in a statement.

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"While the man was getting out of the car, it became engulfed in flames," Capitol Police said. "The man then fired several shots into the air along East Capitol Street."

Officers heard the sound of gunfire and immediately responded, approaching the man who shot himself dead. Police said that no other people were injured.

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"At this time, it does not appear the man was targeting any members of Congress, who are on recess, and it does not appear officers fired their weapons," police said.

Capitol Police investigators are looking into the man's background and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. is investigating the man's death.

Tom Manger, chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, told WTOP that York might have set the car on fire after it crashed.

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"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."

Law enforcement in Washington, D.C., have been on heightened alert since the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building.

In early May, authorities installed non-scalable fencing outside the U.S. Supreme Court as protesters demonstrated in the wake of a leaked draft opinion overturning the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.

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Protests continued through June and into July after the Supreme Court officially overturned the ruling, as authorities heightened security measures.

Demonstrators also gathered outside of the homes of Supreme Court justices in Maryland, prompting the high court's marshal to official ask the state's officials to prevent protesting outside their residences.

In June, Capitol Police arrested a Michigan man who was carrying a fake Interpol badge, BB gun, body armor and high-capacity magazines outside the Capitol. He was identified as retired New York police officer Jerome Felipe, 53, of Flint.

That same month, seven staffers from the production team for CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert who were filming a comic segment with a salty canine puppet were arrested in a hallway of the Capitol building.

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In July, Capitol Police arrested a man on charges of possession of Molotov cocktails and after he allegedly attempted to throw one of the bottles at two officers several blocks northwest of the Capitol complex.

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