Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol; one woman fatally shot, three others dead

  • Comments
  • Print
Listen to this story

Subscriber Benefit

As a subscriber you can listen to articles at work, in the car, or while you work out. Subscribe Now
This audio file is brought to you by
Loading audio file, please wait.
  • 0.25
  • 0.50
  • 0.75
  • 1.00
  • 1.25
  • 1.50
  • 1.75
  • 2.00
Police hold off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

As President Donald Trump told a sprawling crowd outside the White House that they should never accept defeat, hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup that they hoped would overturn the election he lost. In the chaos, law enforcement officials said, a California woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police and three people died of medical emergencies.

The violent scene, partly incited by the president’s incendiary language, was like no other in modern American history, bringing to a sudden halt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

With poles bearing blue Trump flags, a mob that would eventually grow into the thousands bashed through Capitol doors and windows, forcing their way past police officers unprepared for the onslaught. Lawmakers were evacuated shortly before an armed standoff at the House chamber’s entrance. The woman who was shot, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt of San Diego, was rushed to an ambulance, police said, and later died. Canisters of tear gas were fired across the Rotunda’s white marble floor, and on the steps outside the building, rioters flew Confederate flags.

“USA! USA!” chanted the would-be saboteurs of a 244-year-old democracy.

The Senate halted its proceedings, and the House doors were closed. In a notification, U.S. Capitol police said no entry or exit was permitted in the buildings as officers struggled to regain control. “Stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” police warned.

All 1,100 members of the D.C. National Guard were activated, and Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, imposed a citywide curfew. From 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, Bowser said no one other than essential personnel would be allowed outdoors in the city.

The mob had arrived hours earlier, charging past the metal barricades on the property’s outer edge. Hundreds, then thousands, followed them. Some scaled the Capitol’s walls to reach the entrances; others climbed over one another.

Security officers point weapons at a House chamber door as a mob of rioters storms the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (The Washington Post photo/Bill O’Leary)

On the building’s east side, police initially pushed the pro-Trump demonstrators back, but were soon overpowered and fell back to the foot of the main steps. Within a half-hour, fights broke out again, and police retreated to the top of the steps as screaming Trump supporters surged closer. After the police perimeters were breached, the elated crowd began to sing the national anthem.

For an hour, they banged on the doors, chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Police inside fired pepper balls and smoke bombs into the crowd but failed to turn them away. After each volley, the rioters, who were mostly White men, would cluster around the doors again, yelling, arguing, pledging revolution.

Sometime after 2:10 p.m., a man used a clear plastic riot shield to break through the windows on a first floor to the south side of the building, then hopped in with a few others. Once inside, police suspect, rioters opened doors to let in more of their compatriots.

A Capitol Police officer shouted from a higher stairway at the intruders, yelling at them to stop, but when they didn’t, the officer fired at a man coming at him, two law enforcement officials said. Amid shouts and people rushing to get away from the sound of gunfire, protesters saw a woman in their group collapse. Police believe she was unarmed, a law enforcement official said, but the officer who shot her did not know that. Capitol Police had already been warned by D.C. police that many protesters were secretly carrying weapons.

“They shot a girl!” someone yelled as a group of Trump supporters ran out of the southeast entrance.

A team of paramedics with a gurney soon arrived and a Capitol Police officer stepped aside to let them pass. “White female, shot in the shoulder,” the officer said as they hurried past. They emerged minutes later.

On the gurney was a woman in jeans, gazing vacantly to one side, her torso and face covered in blood. As the gurney was loaded into the back of the ambulance, pro-Trump protesters swarmed around it, screaming, “Murderers!”

Capitol Police officers with long guns pushed the rioters back, and the ambulance drove off.

Babbitt was shot while trying to climb through a broken window in an area behind the House chamber. Her ex-husband confirmed her death Wednesday night.

Three other people died of medical emergencies, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said in a Wednesday-night news conference.

The people’s names, and the circumstances of their deaths, were not released during the news conference with Contee and Bowser.

Also at the news conference, Bowser declared a public emergency in the city until Jan. 21, to improve security “through the inauguration.” The declaration gives her more authority to draw on resources to maintain city security. Inauguration Day is scheduled for Jan. 20.

Bowser called the attack on the Capitol an “affront on our American democracy” and implored city residents to abide by the city’s curfew.

“I urge anyone who is not in place in your home or your hotel – and if you mean to cause trouble in the streets of D.C. you will be arrested,” she said.

Bowser blamed the president for the rioting.

“We saw an unprecedented attack on our American Democracy incited by the United States president,” Bowser said. “He must be held accountable. His constant and divisive rhetoric led to the abhorrent actions we saw today.”

Contee said 14 D.C. officers were injured. One was pulled into a crowd, assaulted and hospitalized. Another received “significant facial injuries” after being hit by a projectile. Others are not as serious.

Contee said police had made at least 52 arrests: four for carrying pistols without licenses, one arrest for possession of a prohibited weapon and 47 arrests for curfew violations and unlawful entry. Twenty-six of the 52 arrests were made on Capitol grounds, Contee said.

The chief also confirmed that police recovered two pipe bombs at the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee offices. A cooler that contained molotov cocktails was also found on Capitol grounds, the chief said. Bowser said officials will review video and issue alerts for people who breached the Capitol, adding that they “need to be held accountable for the carnage.”

Contee also said in the news conference that D.C. police had participated in “several planning meetings with Capitol Police” and other agencies to plan for protests on Wednesday. He said Capitol Police called for help at 1 p.m. because of “significant activity” outside the Capitol and that “we immediately deployed platoons to assist the Capitol Police.”

During the siege in the Capitol, where lawmakers had donned gas masks kept under their chairs, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., could only think of his family as he and other lawmakers hid from the mob. Reeling from the loss of his 25-year-old son last week, Raskin had taken one of his daughters and his son-in-law to the Capitol to watch the debates unfold over certification of Biden’s election, he said, “because we wanted to be together.” Raskin was helping lead Democrats’ arguments against Republican objectors.

“I thought I could show them the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America,” Raskin told C-SPAN earlier. “What was really going through my mind was their safety because they were not with me in the chamber, and I just wanted us all to get back together.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said members were told that chemical irritants had been released in Statuary Hall and, for a moment, braced for the possibility that they would be exposed to tear gas. Capitol Police barricaded the doors with tables and bookshelves.

Spanberger, a former CIA case officer, said that it was a crisis she would only expect to see unfold in fragile, faraway places.

“This is what we see in failing countries,” she said. “This is what leads to a death of democracy.”

The shooting and the breach triggered an instant call for help across Washington to other law enforcement agencies. At the U.S. Secret Service, headquarters sent out an emergency alert to all gun-carrying Secret Service personnel to report to headquarters in preparation to help secure the Capitol.

Meanwhile, dozens of other rioters streamed into the building, where they smashed windows and vandalized offices.

“MURDER THE MEDIA,” read a message written on one door.

“WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN,” read another left in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also refused to back down, later directing her colleagues to return and finish validating Biden’s victory.

Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from California, shared a photo on Twitter of a long-haired man in a Trump hat carrying a rostrum adorned with the gold-colored seal of the speaker.

“Arrest this man,” she demanded.

At 3:30 p.m., more law enforcement in riot gear arrived at the Capitol.

“Traitors,” Trump supporters shouted. “What’s your oath?”

Biden condemned what he called an “unprecedented assault” on American democracy, “unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.”

“This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos,” he said. “It borders on sedition, and it must end now.”

For hours, Trump made little effort to quell the violence he had helped instigate, finally sharing a video at 4:17 p.m. in which he told people to “go home,” while continuing to promote the idea that he had won the election.

“We love you,” he told them. “You’re very special.”

The Capitol has been the target of violence before. In 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from a House gallery, injuring five lawmakers on the floor below. In 1971, a bomb planted by a radical left-wing group exploded, though no one was harmed. In 1998, a gunman opened fire, killing two Capitol Police officers. But not since the British set fire to the Capitol in 1814 has a mob overrun the ultimate symbol of American freedom.

At about 8:30 p.m., just more than an hour after hundreds of law enforcement officers had at last finished clearing the mob and removing Trump flags left inside the building, heavily armed FBI agents and police officers in riot gear escorted lawmakers back to work.

D.C. police had arrested 13 people by early evening, they said, including three in possession of firearms. About 6 p.m., a man was stabbed at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near Freedom Plaza, though it was unclear whether the attack was related to the demonstrations.

At the Capitol, those who had made it inside took on a celebrity status when they came back out. A woman who said she had footage on her phone of Capitol Police pointing guns at rioters was circled by dozens who wanted to see it. People traded what information they had about the woman who was shot inside. Some called her a “martyr.”

After she was taken away, the mood soured, though many remained joyous. “We’re making history,” one woman said as she strolled down Independence Avenue with friends.

Beneath streaming flags, including some that read “F— Biden” and that depicted Trump as the movie character Rambo, people loudly exhorted Jesus and chanted “USA!”

Many called friends and family and took videos.

“We weren’t violent before, but we are now,” a middle-aged man said, talking into his cellphone. “There’s no going back.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

49 thoughts on “Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol; one woman fatally shot, three others dead

    1. No they didn’t. I’ve seen the protests in Portland on CNN and MSNBC. Also, you meant to use you’re.

  1. Well this is what happens when half of the country’s brains have been destroyed by a want to be dictator, right-wing media, and social media. I hope these people get a grip on reality after January 20th, but I highly doubt it. Thanks President Trump for destroying America!

    1. Right on, JCB.

      Quote: Biden condemned what he called an “unprecedented assault” on American democracy, “unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.”

      “This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos,” he said.

      If Biden would watch anything other than MSM, he would have seen worse in Portland, etc., which he wouldn’t dare call out lest he lose half his supporters! What hypocrisy indeed.

  2. Comparing any other protest in this past year is disingenuous at best. They have nothing in common other than the basis of protest. Protesting for equal rights under the law and protesting an election that couldn’t be proven to fraudulent are not the same and frankly, insulting.

    If you voted for Trump you enabled a man who called for this behavior, and if you aren’t aware a woman has now died. You OWN part of that.

    1. Sorry, Chris. If you would pay attention to the aims and goals of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, you’d know the rioting that followed Minneapolis and George Floyd had little to do with civil rights and everything to do with disrupting civil order.

    2. If I paid attention..?What are you talking about? Bob, you are conflating on here just as you do on FB. Please try harder. For a guy who supports the party of life; ya’ll seem to value property more than life’s of others.

    3. Truly amazing how rioting and looting (not protests as you call them) are understood and expected because that’s what it takes to get equal rights. The hypocrisy of liberals is just beyond astonishing how you can justify those acts and then condemn this. How about we all strongly condemn both sides and announce all acts will be harshly dealt with so don’t do it. That way you don’t look like a hypocrite when you say some riots are good and understood while others are not. What Joe Biden and the liberal press said would have been great if he had been talking that way this past summer. People are not going to listen to each other unless reasonable people come together and treat each other as equals. Special treatment for some and looking the other way for others is not going to cut it. I hate that yesterdays protests turned into what it did. It was wrong and I condom it. We make our voices heard through our elected officials and like it or not taking to the streets is fine until you cross the line. It is this way for yesterday and all of the senseless acts we saw this past summer. You can equate them. They are the same. How is some violence different and acceptable?

    1. Those were generally peaceful until the police started tear gassing and spraying rubber bullets on people. You didn’t see that today. Today the “protesters” violence was unprovoked. Why were there only 15 arrested and only one use of tear gas today? Becsuse of White Privilege.

    2. JCB. You legitimately believe that if black people stormed the Capitol they wouldn’t have been tear gassed and shot? If you do, you’re dumber than I thought.

    3. Count me as dumb Wesley because I do not think the response would have been different. I saw lots of tear gas and one person shot so what are you talking about. I guess your saying they would have mowed them all down with a machine gun like they did this past summer? Oh wait they didn’t do anything like that this past summer so what makes you think these people were treated as special and BLM would have all been killed? White privilege, really. Money and power speak more to our problems than race.

    1. You can be a Trump supporter without endorsing everything other supporters might do, Michael J. Otherwise, you’re a fair-weather friend. I’m also sorry it has come to this.

    2. What exactly, Bob, does he have to do to lose your support? What line has he not yet crossed?

    3. Apparently Bob P.s support extends to sedition and armed insurrection. But hey, there are good people on both sides, right?

    4. I agree with Michael. Having been a supporter I am truly embarrassed and saddened by the way this is ending. Two weeks can’t come fast enough. I’m not going to be happy about the next two years, but it will still be hard to pass the most radical ideas like the green new deal for example since you need more than a simple majority so I’ll look forward to battling in two years and my hunch is that Democrats will get creamed in the mid terms unless the Trump hangover is still around.

  3. Quote: For hours, the president made little effort to quell the violence he had instigated, sharing a video at 4:17 p.m. in which he told people to “go home” – while continuing to promote the lie that he had won the election.

    Nice work, WaPo: Don’t capitalize President and use the word “lie.” Biden will be inaugurated, so you’ve done your work….investigative journalism be damned.

    1. From the conservatives at the Washington Examiner:

      Trump and his mob have dishonored America

      “The mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was engaged in nothing less than a seditious insurrection. Everyone who participated in the violence and lawlessness acted disgracefully. Officials who set the tone for the sedition, especially President Trump, acted even more disgracefully, as they are expected to know better, indeed to lead.”

      “Political lies, including Trump’s lie of a rigged election, can have tragic consequences.”

      “Any acts of sedition must be put down with as much force as necessary. This nation is known for its peaceful elections and transitions. Mobs must not be allowed to disrupt the workings of the republic by storming the edifices of democracy.”

      “… it is a disgrace that Trump was so slow and so weak in denouncing the violence and used his statement to repeat his canard about the election being stolen. Joe Biden’s statement condemning events at the Capitol and calling for peace was, by contrast, dignified, statesmanlike, and ringingly clear.”

      “He repeatedly incited rallygoers on Wednesday to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to the U.S. Capitol, to “not take it any longer,” and to “never concede.” Trump knew what he was doing. He was whipping a sizable portion of the crowd of his supporters into a frenzy. He was acting like a tinpot strongman, not like the president of the United States. His behavior was inexcusable.”

  4. Let’s be honest, neither side has a leg to stand on. Both sides have their extremists who promote their own agendas. Politicians, and in some instances ” media” are equally culpable in tearing the country apart for their own gain and not that of the nation. Both sides need to stop, to learn to talk and not tell and scream at each other, to learn to listen to and respect other opinions. Not always agree, but listen.

    1. Remind me of the time the Democrats caused Congress to had to evacuate during a session. I’ll wait.

      The Republicans, if they want to show that they value America over their party, can start to redeem themselves today. Mike Pence can work with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump immediately. Or they can lead an effort to impeach and convince him via Congress. Otherwise, they are just as guilty as Trump and the stain will be permanent.

    2. Oh spare us the “both sides” talk. Trump’s cult is now fully delusional, and actually believe he won an election he clearly lost. The right-wing media, social media, and Trump are responsible for making half the country insane. You may not agree with liberals, but we believe in reality. Most Republicans used to be the same. Now 74% of the party’s voters actually believe Trump won. How can one respect the opinion of another who is truly delusional?

    3. Thomas – Thanks.

      Joe – Refer to Black Panthers storming the Capitol.

      Wes – you may want to look into the AntiFa people who rioted yesterday under the guise of “Trumpers”. Woke Chewbacca seems to be everywhere it seems.

  5. Congrats to an honestly elected Joe Biden.
    Congrats also to our BLM hero George Floyd, he’s been sober now for 9 months and felony free. Impressive.

    1. Agreed Joe F.

      Reality is career politicians all need to be fired both sides. They want this division. Extremists exist on all sides, but the media only targets one side. The media fans the flames for their agenda.

      Simple summary.

  6. Let play this the same as the libs this past summer, it was a peaceful protest, and antifa thugs were the ones causing damage. See, time to move on.

  7. Not sure that I want to join this debate (loose term here), but the events of yesterday require it. Comparing the protests in Portland, Minneapolis, Indianapolis or any other event that happened this summer to yesterday’s assault on the United States Capitol is plain ridiculous. But we are are getting rather numb to ridiculous aren’t we? The comparisons would be similar to maybe comparing the Triple A Indianapolis Indians to the great Yankee baseball teams of the 50’s and 60’s (I’m reaching for something that is simple and easy for some to understand). Ridiculous right? Well the events of yesterday was way more egregious and way less comparable than any scale can fathom. Purported Americans attacked, stormed, and defamed the United States Capitol. They put people in harms way and others can never justify what we saw yesterday. Dishonorable, Disappointing, Disgusting, Disheartening are the right words for this moment. Oh one more word, Embarrassing. We can do better and we will do better once we put this current administration in our rear view mirror!

  8. These Indiana representatives – Baird, Banks, Pence and Walorski, shamefully and apparently without regret, through their vote are implicit in aiding and abetting the chaos, mayhem and death resulting from the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. These representatives know the votes they contested were fair yet through their actions implicitly approve the disenfranchisement of legally cast vote and the will of the people. Ask each representation to clearly identify their personal understanding or witness of voting irregularities that would justify their need to contest.This assault on the democracy and democratic principles was unprecedented and inexcusable. Many remain distraught about the riot and violence effected by this right wing extremist group of trump supporters. This reflects anarchy, not democracy. Trump lost and he knows it, yet he continued to encourage conspiracy theories and continued to lie and spread misinformation which has led to deaths, destruction, a terrorized Congress, injuries, and no doubt spread of Covid. This was a coup attempt and a direct threat against democratic processes standing and respected for 200 years. This insurrection further displays the dual code of justice and enforcements as the primarily white violent mob illegally acted without arrest or the outrageous police rebuke of peaceful protesters demanding no more or no less that equal rights under the law – equal rights clears do not exist for many in the United States. Trump is a disgrace and embarrassment, and his ardent followers a cult in denial that their leader lost and is an abject failure in leadership, entirely lacking the decency, decorum and demeanor of a president. He is mentally ill and needs to go.

  9. Derek you write “primarily white violent mob illegally acted without arrest or the outrageous police rebuke of peaceful protesters demanding no more or no less that equal rights under the law – equal rights clears do not exist for many in the United States.” Maybe you could try to understand why statements like that infuriate people like me and we will never see eye to eye. I’m not even going to debate you on the specifics of what you said. Just understand I wholeheartedly disagree with your sentiments and always will. You can call it racism, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Violence is violence and calling your side “peaceful protesters” is comical. Lets just agree that we see the world in a different way.

    1. What’s racist is that if these were BLM rioters, they’d all be dead! White people get their privilege to just storm the Capitol without being harmed. Don’t be dumb.

    2. Wesley, I did not see the BLM protesters getting attacked by the authorities much less being killed. In fact I was shocked by the level of non action they took to stop all the burning, rioting and looting. It was very hard to watch night after night on my tv with no response from the authorities so seriously to claim they would all be dead if that had been BLM just makes my point of we see the world in two different realities and I don’t know how we come together. I just think it has to start with all of us denouncing all violence in the strongest terms and not trying to defend it for some and not for others. I’m certainly willing to start there.

  10. I do not consider it racism. And, I recognize that racism is not illegal. My comment noted that the mob was primarily white as I know and saw there were blacks and other non-whites in the mob. It is a fact that this mob was not met with a forceful response, so typical for minority groups. I respectfully disagree with you as the specific incident I cite was in Washington DC when peaceful protestors were tear gassed and pelted with rubber bullets so that Trump could cross the street and hold a bible at a church for a photo-op. I welcome a conversation to share thoughts with others on these issues and I have discussed with friends with whom I do no agree. (Of course, I recognize this is not the forum to do so, but hope that all who disagree do try to dialogue to a friend or acquaintance who my disagree. The more serious but cordial dialogue occurs, the better for all.)

    Jeff, I do appreciate the response and do not intend to infuriate but to simply call out inequities of treatment. Violence is violence and the hooliganism and destruction in downtown Indianapolis, and in any location, I neither condone or approve. The breach of the Capitol was in my view was a deliberate act of aggression and intimidation, planned and documented in social media. That the Capitol Police did not have more reinforcements to better control the mob and protect all congresspersons was shameful breakdown in security. Again, the concern is equality – equal response for equal actions; that has not be the case and there is much need for improvement.

  11. Derek you are right in the example you cite with that being one incident of a forceful response. I suspect they were doing what they thought they had to do to protect the President. I would expect them to do no less to protect Joe B or any President. They can’t screw around when it comes to Presidential security. Too many people out there that want to be famous. Having said that you are correct in that if we can all agree that any violence by anyone is unacceptable for any reason then that is certainly a starting point for meaningful discussion and one that we should start having.

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In