Four People are Dead after Protesters Storm Barricades and Breach the US Capitol
Four people are dead and dozens have been arrested after President Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol and clashed with police.
Ashli Babbit was the first person confirmed dead after she was shot in the chest when she and dozens of other protesters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. Babbit, from San Diego, was a 14-year veteran who served four tours with the Air Force as a 'high level security official', a fervent supporter of Trump and 'a great patriot to all who knew her’.
Witnesses and videos suggested that she may have been shot by police while trying to climb through a broken window near congressional chambers.
Three other people died on the Capitol grounds from 'individual medical emergencies'.
The chaos unfolded at about 3pm, soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters at a rally and encouraged them to march to the Capitol.
As protesters broke down police barricades and stormed into the Capitol, lawmakers inside the House Chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Officers at the front door of the chamber had their guns drawn at a protester trying to break down the door.
Protesters were getting in as quickly as members of Congress could get out.
After protesters started clashing with law enforcement, Trump tweeted to his supporters to 'stay peaceful’: 'Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!'
As the violence escalated, Trump 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!'
Trump eventually posted a video telling his 'very special' supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them 'to go home'.
The National Guard was called in to help enforce a 6pm citywide curfew while hundreds of protesters remained on the Capitol grounds. As of 11pm last night, 30 people had been arrested for breaking curfew. Fifteen others were arrested for protest-related activities.
Two pipe bombs found near the Capitol grounds at the headquarters for the Republican and Democratic National Committees were removed, along with a truck filled with long guns and Molotov cocktails.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the city for the next 15 days until Joe Biden’s inauguration.
After an hours-long recess, members of the House and the Senate who had been whisked to safety when the siege kicked off returned to the Capitol just before 8pm to resume their Joint Session to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election.
The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way back into chambers to finish certifying the election results.