Suspect in Capitol attack was already unraveling, family and friends say
By EMILY DAVIES, JUSTIN JOUVENAL AND MICHAEL E. MILLER | The Washington Post | Published: April 2, 2021
WASHINGTON — Brendan Green said the troubling signs his brother was unraveling built up until the night before authorities said Noah Green launched an attack outside the Capitol.
Brendan Green said his brother was violently ill Thursday evening in the Virginia apartment they shared, before he left and sent a forlorn text that was one of their final communications.
"'I'm sorry but I'm just going to go and live and be homeless,' " Brendan Green said the text read. "Thank you for everything that you've done. I looked up to you when I was a kid. You inspired me a lot."
Less than 24 hours later, Capitol Police said a man crashed his vehicle into two officers at a barricade outside the Capitol before getting out of the car and charging them with a knife. At least one officer opened fire, fatally wounding him. Several people familiar with the investigation identified the suspect as Noah Green.
Noah Green, who was in his early 20s, was remembered as a stalwart defensive back on the Christopher Newport University football team before he slid into deep religiousness and paranoia that left family and friends concerned about his mental state in recent years.
Family and friends said he blamed former teammates and roommates for drugging him with Xanax in 2019, which one teammate said most people regarded as unmoored from reality. Noah Green felt the episode left him addicted to the drug and suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Noah Green moved out into his own apartment in Newport News, but he continued to suffer hallucinations, heart palpitations, headaches and suicidal thoughts that could have related to drugs or mental illness, his brother said.
Brendan Green said that Noah suddenly abandoned his Newport News apartment one day and moved to Indianapolis, saying that the drugs had inspired him to go there. When he was in Indianapolis, Noah Green began to tell his brother that people were breaking into his apartment.
Brendan Green flew to Indianapolis to make sure his brother was safe. The apartment seemed secure, he said, but his brother's "mind didn't seem right."
A couple of months ago, Noah Green left Indianapolis and moved to Botswana, according to his brother. While in Botswana, Noah Green told his brother that "his mind was telling him to basically commit suicide." He told his brother that he had jumped in front of a car and was so badly injured that he had surgery at a hospital. Brendan Green saw bruises and scars on his brother's body.
About two weeks ago, Noah Green called Brendan Green asking for help, crying and saying he was "in a really bad situation and in really bad shape," Brendan said. He asked to move in with Brendan, and the brother obliged.
A post on Noah Green's Facebook page on March 17 said that "these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher."
"I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey," the post read.
On his Facebook page, Green listed himself as a "Follower of Farrahkan" — an apparent reference to Louis Farrahkan, leader of the Black nationalist group Nation of Islam. Green's last post links to a video of Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, that Green said was a "divine warning to us all during these last days of our world as we know it."
In the March 17 post on Facebook, Green wrote his life had been on the "right track," before he was hobbled by drugs he was "unknowingly" taking, which appeared to be a reference to the incident allegedly involving his former teammates.
"Since childhood, my faith has always carried me through the toughest of battles," the post read. "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."
Andre Toran, a features writer with the Louisville Courier-Journal and a former of teammate of Green's at Christopher Newport University, got a glimpse of that Noah Green. He described him as a solid athlete during the one season he played with him starting in 2017.
"He was a guy that was pretty smiley, but he was quiet," Toran said.
Green was born in Fairlea, W.Va., and had seven sisters and two brothers, according to the football roster. Toran said Green became more religious after leaving the university. He said people grew concerned about Green after he publicly accused his former teammates of drugging him.
"He was really paranoid from that point moving forward," Toran said.
Damian Jiggetts, 22, said Green was a model student-athlete at CNU who showed no signs of mental health struggles or other issues.
"He was a stand-up guy," said Jiggetts, who graduated last year. "He was on the dean's list. He was a motivator. That was the Noah I knew and regardless of what happened today, that is what his legacy should be. He should be remembered as a positive guy."
Jiggetts said he first met Green when Green transferred to CNU. The two competed for minutes at the same position, safety, but Green was always encouraging. They hung out a couple of times outside of games and practice, said Jiggetts, who described Green as "reserved, quiet and to-himself" but also a "person you could talk to."
Jiggetts said he last saw Green in the fall, when he happened to spot his car going over a bridge in the Hampton Roads area while they were both stuck in traffic. Jiggetts said he pulled up alongside his former teammate and they had a quick, friendly conversation with the windows down.
"He said he was doing good," Jiggetts recalled.
He hadn't thought of Green again until Friday, when another teammate sent Jiggetts a news article naming Noah as the suspect in the Capitol attack. Jiggetts clicked on the link and saw another car driven by Green, crumpled into a barrier at the Capitol.
The Washington Post's Clarence Williams, Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Matt Zapotosky, Aaron C. Davis and Peter Hermann contributed to this report.