The 29-year-old man who police say crashed his car near the U.S. Capitol then fired several shots before killing himself early Sunday morning is from Sussex County, public records show.
U.S Capitol Police identified Richard York III Sunday afternoon, saying that he is from Delaware. Records show he and his grandfather have an address in Ocean View, about 3.5 miles from Bethany Beach.
York also has two addresses in Pennsylvania, though it’s unclear how recently he lived there. When reached for comment at her Dagsboro home, York’s mother, Tamara Cunningham, did not say where he had most recently resided.
Cunningham called her son “a good person,” adding that while he had “a very troubled past,” he was “loved very, very much.”
She also said he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as a CTE or traumatic brain injury, from high school football.
“He was off because he was suffering,” Cunningham said.
According to U.S. Capitol Police, Sunday’s incident unfolded around 4 a.m. when York drove his car into a vehicle barricade at East Capitol and Second streets, located several hundred feet from the U.S. Supreme Court and a little more than a block from the Capitol.
As York was getting out of his car, it became “engulfed” in flames, police said. York then fired several shots into the air. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said at a Sunday news conference that the agency was looking into whether York started the fire, as it did not appear to have been sparked by the wreck.
Officers who heard the gunfire “immediately” responded, police said, and were approaching York when he shot himself. He died.
While it remains unclear why York was there, police said Sunday it “does not appear” he was targeting any members of Congress − who are on recess − and “it does not appear officers fired their weapons.”
Manger said detectives are looking into York’s background.
Court records show York has a criminal record in Pennsylvania dating to at least 2011, when he was charged with possession of a controlled substance. He later pleaded guilty.
Several months later, he was charged with simple assault and terroristic threatening “with intent to terrorize another,” court records show. That stemmed from an incident in which he choked and attacked his pregnant girlfriend, which he later pleaded guilty to.
His mother said the attack occurred when York was 19 and the girlfriend was 17. She added that “they were kids.”
Most recently in January 2020, York was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief in connection with an attack on a coworker.
According to The Morning Call, just before midnight on Jan. 2, police responded to Old Mill Road in Lower Saucon Township, Pennsylvania, after someone called 911 to report a person yelling for help. There, police found a man in the woods wearing only thin shirt and shorts.
It was raining and cold, and the victim’s legs were beginning to turn blue.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by the Saucon Source, the victim told police that York attacked him at his home and he thought the man was still there. The victim had injuries to his face and head.
The two had worked together on a roofing job, according to media reports.
The victim told police he ran from his house and hid in the woods. He also said York accused him of “contacting his mother,” the Morning Call reported.
When police went to the victim’s home, they found it significantly damaged with broken glass, furniture that had been flipped and a television that was “split in half,” according to the Saucon Source.
Court records show he pleaded guilty to simple assault and criminal mischief − for the damaged property − in August 2020 and was sentenced to 213 days confinement followed by two years probation. As a condition of his sentence, he was barred from having any contact with the victim.
Court records also show the judge wrote York “can live in Delaware with mother.”
At York’s father’s home in Millville, two women answered the door when a reporter knocked. When asked about York, they said they had no comment.
The home had an American flag out front, as well as Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) and New York Yankees decorations.
The home is larger than York’s grandfather’s home in Ocean View, which had a truck with Pennsylvania plates and a boat in the driveway. No one answered the front door when a reporter knocked there.
Neighbors in the development who spoke to a Delaware Online/The News Journal reporter said they did not know York personally, though several people had seen him coming and going. They were shocked to learn that he’d been identified as the man at the Capitol a day earlier.
One neighbor said they believed York was the only one living at the home.
When a Delaware Online/News Journal reporter attempted to speak on the phone with York’s father they were told by a woman who answered the phone “he’s not here.” The woman then ended the call before identifying herself.
York’s mother later told a reporter that the man’s father “is flying back today,” though did not elaborate on where from.
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