Noah Green, the knife-wielding man killed after ramming his car into a checkpoint at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, was a troubled former college athlete whose life was disintegrating in the months leading up to a violent outburst that left one officer dead and another injured.
On the football field at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, Noah R. Green was No. 21, a dependable and good-natured, if soft-spoken, presence in the defensive backfield. Off the field, he was focused on Black economic empowerment and planned a career to help close the racial wealth gap.
By late March, after a bruising pandemic year that friends and family said left him isolated and mentally unmoored, Mr. Green’s life appeared increasingly to revolve around the Nation of Islam and its leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly promoted anti-Semitism.
On Friday afternoon, law enforcement officials said, Mr. Green, 25, drove a dark blue Nissan sedan from the Virginia suburbs and plowed into two police officers protecting the Capitol grounds. He then got out of the car brandishing a knife and lunged at officers.
Police shot and killed him.
Without a clear motive, investigators were combing through social media posts and a trail of woes to understand what happened and why.
Investigators believed that Mr. Green was influenced by a combination of underlying mental health issues and a connection to an ideological cause that, he believed, provided justification to commit violence.
Brendan Green told The Washington Post on Friday that his brother had been plagued by mental health problems and possibly drugs. Noah Green had briefly moved to Botswana this year, he said, and tried to jump in front of a car.
Brendan Green said his brother had become violently ill on Thursday night and left the apartment, declaring that he was ready to become homeless.
Noah Green seemed destined for a more promising future. At Alleghany High School in Covington, Va., he was voted the most valuable player of the football team, and later played at Christopher Newport University, a small public school in Newport News, Va., where he studied business.
“I was able to graduate with distinction, earn a well-paying job straight out of college, and pursue my graduate degree, despite not growing up in the best of circumstances,” he wrote on Facebook on March 17.
In his final Facebook post on March 21, Mr. Green wrote about a “divine warning” that these were the “last days of our world as we know it.”