U.S. Capitol violence leaves one dead
Last updated 1/6/2021 at 4:43pm
WASHINGTON - Supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, pounding on the door of the House chamber, as lawmakers huddled inside, and strolling across the Senate floor carrying signs to object to the election of Joe Biden.
The invasion of the Capitol building forced the House and Senate to abruptly stop their debate over the formal counting and announcement of electoral votes for Biden, a constitutionally mandated process.
CNN reported one woman died and multiple injuries had occurred as night fell and a city-wide curfew went into effect.
In the Senate, the body's president pro-tempore, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, interrupted a senator midsentence to declare the chamber in recess as Capitol police ordered a lockdown of the building.
The breach came after thousands of pro-Trump extremists broke through security barricades, overwhelming the Capitol police force, unleashing scenes of violence inside a pillar of America's democratic system and interrupting the usually peaceful transition of power.
About 2 p.m. Eastern time, the mob broke the glass door of the chamber of the House floor, prompting Capitol police officers inside to draw their guns. Members of Congress and Capitol Police barricaded the door with a large bookcase.
Reporters present heard at least a single gunshot. Some House members, who had been trying to debate the Electoral College votes inside, were evacuated before the mob breached the building. But at least two dozen members were left inside a gallery, given gas masks and advised to remain low to the floor.
The Republican Party of New Mexico was among those condemning the incidents.
"The Republican Party of New Mexico condemns the acts of violence happening at the U.S. Capitol. While we support the right for free speech and to demonstrate peacefully, such violence and threatening actions cannot be tolerated," RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce said in a statement.
Police deployed tear gas in the Capitol against a backdrop of statues honoring the country's founders. Television pictures showed a woman being taken from the scene on a stretcher, covered with blood.
"It was a pretty terrifying experience," said Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., who was in the chamber. "This shouldn't happen in the United States, where people think a democracy is being stolen from them and being antagonized by the president of the United States. It creates a dangerous situation where people are running for their safety."
Trump released a video to his supporters, saying, "You have to go home now, we have to have peace." He also told his supporters, "We love you, you're very special." He repeated his oft-stated claim the election was "stolen."
Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement calling on the people to disperse.
"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 said in a statement.
The Virginia and Maryland National Guard were called to the Capitol to help restore order. Although protests are somewhat common, they typically take place well outside the Capitol building. The breach was unprecedented in recent history.
"We've all seen the videos of banana republics all over the world, where the legislators fight, and they can't keep security. And now the entire world is watching us," said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. "I am heartbroken for my country."
-- The Eastern New Mexico News contributed to this report.