As a shocked nation watched on Twitter and TV, a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol, and sent members of Congress fleeing as lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes to confirm the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Now, five people are dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Many of the rioters came directly from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier on the Ellipse, a park near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting that the election had been stolen.
“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” When he was finished, supporters headed for the Capitol building.
Here is how events unfolded. Times are estimates.
Crowds of Trump supporters, estimated in the thousands, prepare for a pro-Trump rally near the Ellipse. Many began gathering the night before. Trump tweeted about the rally on Dec. 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, be wild!”
Trump’s “Save America Rally” begins first with the president’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., then his lawyer, Rudy Guiliani. Trump starts speaking shortly before noon at about 11:50 a.m. and says, “And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.” Trump speaks for more than an hour. At the conclusion, thousands walk to the Capitol.
Lawmakers gather for a joint session in the House of Representatives chamber to count Electoral College votes.
Rioters begin grappling with police on the Capitol steps.
Capitol police order evacuation of Library of Congress, Madison Building and Cannon House Office Building on Independence Avenue across from the Capitol.
C-SPAN reports rioters have crossed Statuary Hall, the chamber that separates the House and Senate, heading for the House and Senate.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser orders citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 6 a.m. Thursday. CNN reports District police are asking for more law enforcement.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweets she is being evacuated after reports of a pipe bomb outside. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots.”
Rioters breach police lines on the west side of the Capitol.
Moments later, rioters scale the walls.
Reports say Vice President Mike Pence has been escorted out of the Senate chamber.
Trump tweets, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Trump tweets, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Rioters are photographed breaking Capitol windows.
Shots are reported fired in the House chamber.
Huffington Post reporter tweets image of rioters at dais. “They’re in the chamber.”
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., tweets he has been safely moved from the House chamber. He says he and others were given an escape hood, a respiratory hood and mask for protection in fires or chemical accidents.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, texts “shots fired.”
Rioters are photographed on the Senate floor.
Trump tweets: “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!”
CBS reports a woman is in critical condition after being shot in the neck inside the Capitol. Police later report the woman died. She was identified as Ashli Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran. Her husband was quoted as saying she was a strong supporter of Trump.
In an account to WUSA9, a purported witness explains what happened, saying they had stormed the building and she was climbing through the window. He says armed police and Secret Service repeatedly warned to get back, but “she didn’t heed the call,” and then they shot her.
The District of Columbia National Guard, about 1,100 troops, is mobilized to support local law enforcement.
A congressional correspondent tweets that congressional leaders are being evacuated from the Capitol.
In a tweeted video lasting just over a minute, Trump says, in part: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. … So go home. We love you, you’re very special. … I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
Some of Trump’s tweets addressing the riot were deleted. Twitter bans the president from tweeting for 12 hours. Twitter first froze the tweets and wouldn’t allow comments or retweets, then the ban was imposed.
Congress reconvenes to resume counting Electoral College votes.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said that, in addition to the woman shot by Capitol police, two men and one woman died in “separate medical emergencies.” At least 14 of Contee’s officers were injured during the demonstrations, he said. Two pipe bombs were recovered, one at the Democratic National Committee and the other one at the Republican National Committee.
Police identified the woman shot and killed during the riot as Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego, who was a military veteran.
“As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn (U.S. Capitol Police) employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female,” police said in a statement Thursday.
A U.S. Capitol Police officer died Thursday after being injured when supporters of President Donald Trump raided the Capitol building on Wednesday, bringing the total number of fatalities to five.
Brian D. Sicknick “was injured while physically engaging with protesters” on Wednesday, USCP said in a statement. He returned to his division office and collapsed, then was taken to a local hospital where he died Thursday evening.
“The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners,” the USCP said in a statement.
The other three who perished were Benjamin Phillips, 50, from Ringtown, Pennsylvania; Kevin Greeson, 55, from Athens, Alabama; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, from Kennesaw, Georgia. Contee said Thursday all three died on Capitol grounds, but he didn’t specify how.
Police made at least 68 arrests, 41 of of them on Capitol grounds, Contee said. Only one of those detained was from D.C., he said.
SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research; The Associated Press; multiple media reports
PHOTO CREDIT AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite; Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images; AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Christal Hayes and Will Carless contributed with reports from the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Also contributing: Mitchell Thorson, Carlie Procell, Sean Dougherty, David Baratz, Emily Johnson, Rachel Stassen-Berger, Dinah Pulver, Jim Sergent, Susan Page, Dennis Wagner, Hannah Gaber, Jasper Colt, and Shawn Sullivan.