WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP/CNN) — Four people are dead, including a woman who was fatally shot inside the U.S. Capitol, and 52 arrests were made Wednesday after supporters of President Donald Trump breached the building ahead of the Electoral College vote, according to police.
The Metropolitan Police Department later identified the woman who was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer as 35-year-old Ashli Babbit. They are taking the lead in the investigation. The three other fatalities, a woman and two men, died from medical emergencies in the Capitol area.
Fourteen DC police officers were also injured during the melee. One of the officers is in serious condition after he was pulled into a crowd of demonstrators and assaulted, according to officials. Another officer sustained facial injuries after he was struck by a projectile.
LIVE: Public Safety Update https://t.co/VQ2ZSRMuea
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 7, 2021
Police also recovered two pipe bombs — one at the DNC and another at the RNC — and a cooler with a long gun and Molotov cocktails on Capitol grounds.
A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.
- Calls For Removal Of Rep. Andy Harris After Alleged Scuffle On House Floor During Election Certification Vote
- Lawmakers Vow To Investigate Police After U.S. Capitol Breach
- PHOTOS: Trump Supporters Clash With Police
- ‘We Love You, You’re Very Special’: President Trump Tweets Message, Later Removed, To Rioters Storming The U.S. Capitol
- ‘Dangerous Coup Attempt’: Maryland Lawmakers, Forced To Shelter In Place Amid Riots At Capitol, Blast Trump: He ‘Needs To Stop This Now’
- FBI Seeking Public’s Help To Identify Pro-Trump Rioters Who Rushed U.S. Capitol
The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.
The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.
Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 were sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation’s democratic guardrails.
Congress reconvened in the evening, lawmakers decrying the protests that defaced the Capitol and vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Biden’s election, even if it took all night. Shortly before 11 p.m., senators soundly defeated, by a 93-6 vote, the first objection, to election results from Arizona that had been raised by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
Vice President Mike Pence, reopening the Senate, directly addressed the demonstrators: “You did not win.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the “failed insurrection” underscored lawmakers’ duty to confirm the vote. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would show the world “what America is made of” by finishing the count.
The president gave his supporters a boost into action Wednesday morning at a rally outside the White House, where he urged them to march to the Capitol. He spent much of the afternoon in his private dining room off the Oval Office watching scenes of the violence on television. At the urging of his staff, he reluctantly issued a pair of tweets and a taped video telling his supporters it was time to “go home in peace” — yet he still said he backed their cause.
Hours later, Twitter for the first time time locked Trump’s account, demanded that he remove tweets excusing violence and threatened “permanent suspension.”
A somber President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, said American democracy was “under unprecedented assault, ” a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans. Former President George W. Bush said he watched the events in “disbelief and dismay.”
The domed Capitol building has for centuries been the scene of protests and occasional violence. But Wednesday’s events were particularly astounding both because they unfolded at least initially with the implicit blessing of the president and because of the underlying goal of overturning the results of a free and fair presidential election.
(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)