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Rep. Joaquin Castro: Security and public access must be balanced at Capitol after deadly attacks

Rep. Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees, said that when it comes to the security surrounding the US Capitol complex, there needs to be a balance between “safety and transparency.”

“So you want to make sure the people of this country can show up and interact and at the same time, the Capitol has been a larger target of extremism and extremists,” Castro, a Texas Democrat, told CNN’s Jim Acosta on “Newsroom” Saturday a day after a man rammed a vehicle into a police barricade outside the Capitol building. “We have to find a way to balance those two things.’

Castro’s comments come after the Capitol was again the target of an incident which left one US Capitol Police officer dead and another injured. The deceased officer was identified as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force and a member of its “First Responders Unit.” The wounded officer has been released from the hospital, according to a law enforcement source. CNN has reached out to the Capitol Police and the union for comment.

Details about Friday’s incident remain scarce though police officials said it does not appear to be terrorism-related.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the violent insurrection that occurred less than three months ago and the persistent security concerns that have been top of mind for many on Capitol Hill in the time since, despite a recent ramping down of some additional protective measures.

Barbed wire fencing that surrounded the Capitol complex for months after pro-Trump rioters stormed the building was brought down last month. Castro said he would feel safe going to the Capitol without any fencing surrounding the grounds.

“Yeah, I think I would. But I know that we need to make sure that everybody feels safe,” said Castro. “I suspect there will be permanent changes at the US Capitol at both the House and the Senate side after January 6th.”

Meanwhile, thousands of the National Guard troops who were deployed in response to the January insurrection have since returned home, though thousands still remain in Washington and were seen responding to Friday’s attack.

This story has been updated with the release from the hospital of the wounded Capitol Police officer.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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