Political

Four dead after Capitol breached by pro-Trump mob during ‘failed insurrection’

uschools/iStockBy IVAN PERIERA and WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Four people are dead following Wednesday’s protests and the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol, according to Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee.

One woman and two men, suffered “medical emergencies” at the protests, and have subsequently died, Contee said during a press conference Wednesday night.

Another woman was shot and killed during a standoff inside the U.S. Capitol between law enforcement and supporters of President Donald Trump, who breached the building, forcing a lockdown with members of Congress inside.

She was shot by a Capitol police officer, after “multiple individuals forced entry into the Capitol building, and attempted to gain access to the house and attempted to gain access to the house, room, which was still in session,” Contee said Wednesday. She was transported to a local hospital where after all lifesaving efforts failed, she was pronounced dead.

The protesters, some of who were seen wearing body armor, made their way up the steps around 2:15 p.m. ET, pushing through barricades, officers in riot gear and other security measures put in place in anticipation of the protest.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Ok, told ABC News Live that he saw the shooting happen and allegedly saw police shoot the woman.

Officials said they swept rooms to make sure there were no devices. The Senate resumed their session at 8 p.m., where both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell condemned the mob.

“We will not be kept out of this chamber by mobs or thugs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,” McConnell said. “We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation – and we’re going to do it tonight.”

McConnell went on to call Wednesday’s event a “failed insurrection.”

After repeated calls from leaders on both sides of the aisle to call off his supporters, the president released a video message on Twitter at 4:17 p.m., telling his supporters to go home. In the same video, he continued to push baseless, false claims about the election.

“I know you’re in pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” he said, repeating a false claim in the 1-minute pre-recorded video. “But you have to go home now.”

Twitter removed the tweet with the video along with two other tweets. At 7 p.m. Twitter announced it locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and will continue to keep it locked until the tweets are deleted.

“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” Twitter said in a thread.

Later in the night Facebook announced it would not allow Trump’s official page to post for 24 hours.

The tweet came just as Trump’s successor, President-elect Joe Biden, held a news conference to address the situation. He called on Trump to tell his supporters to stop.

“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now. I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward,” Biden said.

The entire D.C. National Guard has been activated to help, and several other law enforcement groups, including the Federal Protective Service, Secret Service, Virginia National Guard, and Arlington, Virginia, Police Department, are responding to assist the U.S. Capitol Police.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said around 3:40 p.m., the National Guard was on its way. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested the National Guard’s help to secure the Capitol, according to a source.

The clashes began as Trump and his allies held a rally earlier in the day pushing the Senate to not certify the election for President-elect Joe Biden. Once inside the Capitol, protesters moved freely and shouted chants while waving “Trump 2020” flags. One person was seen waving the Confederate flag inside the building.

“Due to the violent behavior towards the police officers there and their intent on gaining access to the Capitol, a riot was declared,” D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Conte told reporters at a news conference.

According to reports, at least one protester was in the dais of the Senate chamber and some were going door to door demanding, “Where the f— are they?” They were also banging on the doors, according to reports.

One of the protesters was photographed carrying a congressional lectern.

Around 4:15 p.m., the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Capitol Police were investigating a suspicious item close to the Republican National Committee headquarters building on First Street. Around 5:52 p.m., the FBI said in a statement that “two suspected explosive devices were rendered safe by the FBI and our law enforcement partners. The investigation is ongoing.”

As the Trump supporters stormed the building, law enforcement officers inside instructed elected officials, staff and journalists to shelter in place. In a bulletin sent to Capitol staff later in the afternoon, Capitol Police ordered people to lock their doors, remain quiet and silence their electronics.

“If you are in a public space, find a place to hide or seek cover,” the bulletin read.

Later in the evening, law enforcement fired tear gas to try and disperse the supporters.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., tweeted, “Police have asked us to get gas masks out as there has been tear gas used in the rotunda.” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, tweeted that the Electoral College ballots were rescued from the floor.”

“If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob,” he tweeted.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters that the Senate intends to finish certifying the election Wednesday night.

Manchin told reporters he believes that they will be able to continue the debate in the Capitol building. He said that being in the secure holding room with other Senators had a “way of bringing us together.”

“We’re going to finish tonight,” Manchin said. “These thugs are not running us off.”

House Speaker Pelosi sent a letter to members that they would proceed with their agenda once the Capitol was cleared.

“Members and staff should remain on the Capitol complex until they are notified by the United States Capitol Police,” she wrote. “I look forward to seeing you later this evening, during this time of great sadness.”

Around 3:20 p.m., the Senate chamber was reportedly secured and officers were in the process of pushing protesters down from the second and third floor of the rotunda, according to police.

During the rally earlier in the day, Trump said he would not concede and called on his supporters to march up to the Capitol. He promised the crowd he would be with them, but did not follow-up his promise and went back to the White House.

“We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen,” Trump said to a cheering crowd.

As the breaching started, Trump tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” and “USA demands the truth!”

Trump tweeted at 2:39 p.m., “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

At 3:13 p.m., he tweeted, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

At 3:35 p.m., Pence, who was escorted out of the building, also pleaded on Twitter for the Trump supporters to stop.

“The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building,” he tweeted.

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters who were with him in a secure position, “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.” Romney had been accosted by a Trump supporter at an airport Tuesday.

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a joint statement around 3:50 p.m. and called on Trump “to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”

Former members of Trump’s inner circle also condemned the president for not doing enough to stop his supporters. Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tweeted that the president’s tweets were not enough.

“He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home,” he tweeted.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a citywide curfew that began at 6 p.m. and ends Thursday at 6 a.m.

“During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District,” the mayor’s office said.

During a news conference later in the afternoon, Bowser called the protests “shameful, unpatriotic” and “unlawful.”

“The Metropolitan Police Department has been deployed to assist the United States Capitol police in restoring order to the Capitol. And our chief of police will lead the command to clear the Capitol building and establish a perimeter around the Capitol,” she said.

There were 52 arrests Wednesday and 26 of those arrests were carried out on Capitol grounds, Contee said.

He said 14 MPD officers were injured as a result of the protests.

Additionally, at least 14 people were transported to local hospitals Wednesday, according to DC Fire.

Prior to the storming of the Capitol, there were multiple arrests as part of this week’s “First Amendment Activities,” the mayor’s office said. Some of those arrested were on charges for simple assault, assault on a police officer, destruction of property, carrying a pistol without a license and more.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a curfew in Alexandria and Arlington that began at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday night, the FBI issued a bulletin and posted a webpage asking for submissions of information about individuals who may have been involved in the violent attack on the Capitol.

Almost exactly 12 hours after the protests and rioting began, a notice from Capitol Police went out to all staffers on the Hill, stating that the threat was cleared and operations could return to normal: “All buildings within the Capitol Complex: The USCP has cleared the external security threat incident located within the Capitol Complex. The USCP will continue to maintain a security perimeter.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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