We take a look at the events that happened during the storming of the Capitol. Highlighted are the deaths of the five people that died on the 6th as well as the FBI investigation into the riot.
On Jan. 6 of 2021, hundreds of pro-Trump protestors stormed the capitol. This was due to a rally that President Donald Trump held the morning of the day that joint sessions of Congress were being held to certify president-elect Joe Biden’s presidential win. Members of the House and Senate were in the Capitol when it was stormed. The after-math of the protest is chaotic, leaving many people wondering what this attempted coup d’etat does to our nation.
A breakdown of the events of Jan. 6 are as follows and as reported by the Boston Globe. From 9 am to 1 pm, President Trump held a “Save America” rally at the White House. Himself, his sons, Erick and Don. Jr, as well as Rudy Gulliani were also present. It was at this rally that he riled up his crowd of supporters and as the Boston Globe said in an article entitled “How Trump-supporting rioters stormed the Capitol,” “In his speech, Trump claims falsely that the election was stolen and that he would never concede. He calls on the crowd to ‘fight like hell’ and urges them to march on the Capitol.”
Following this rally, which ended at 1 pm, the joint sessions of Congress were held at the Capitol while Trump supporters, some of whom were from the president’s rally, marched to the Capitol building and started clashing with police.
At 2:15, rioters broke past police lines and stormed the Capitol building. The Globe said “…push past police and break down barriers. Some ran up the Capitol steps, others scale the walls of the exterior. At the top, they attempt to break windows, and bang on the doors.”
At 2:19, the house and senate began evacuations.
At 2:30, the Capitol building was overtaken by Trump supporters and chaos unfolded. Some rioters entered the House and Senate chambers while others entered Senator and Representative offices. Guns, bombs and molotov cocktails were brought to the building. Breaking of windows, doors and glass as well as vandalism and thefts then occurred. As well, many of the rioters were not wearing masks or following social distance protocol amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At 3 pm, the first death of the Capitol riot occured when Ashli Babbitt, a veteran of the United States Air Force was shot and killed by Capitol police.
After the protestors had been in the Capitol for nearly an hour, at 3:33 pm the National Guard was activated.
President Trump addressed the mob and the nation at 4:17 when he said in a video on Twitter that the protestors needed to leave and called for peace. However, he also continued with various fraudulent election claims that he has been making for months and said of the protestors “we love you, you’re very special.”
At 5:50, the national guard and other officials declared the Capitol building secure after expelling the mob that had occupied the building since the afternoon.
After these events unfolded and the Capitol building was secured and cleaned up, the joint sessions of the House and Senate reconvened at 8 pm. And, as of those sessions, at 3:45 am, Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
In the events of the 6th, 5 people died. They were of various backgrounds and came from many different states. 4 of the 5 were Trump protestors and supporters while one was a Capitol policeman on duty the day of the 6th.
The officer’s name was Brian Sicknick. According to the New York Times, Sicknick had served in the Air National Guard, after which he became a member of the Capitol Police force in 2008. The Times reported that Sicknick died while being overtaken by the mob and said, “Law enforcement officials said he had been “physically engaging with protesters” and was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.”
The first death of the day was a woman named Ashli Babbitt. Babbitt, 35, was a vetern of the US Air Force as well as an avid Trump supporter. Her death was caught on camera as she
“ …was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as she clambered through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby inside the Capitol.” said the New York Times.
The other three deaths were from people who suffered medical emergencies whilst storming the Capitol. Kevin Greeson, 55, suffered a heart attack and fell to the sidewalk amidst a group of his fellow rioters, while Benjamin Philips, 50, died of a stroke due to unknown causes. Rosanne Boyland, 34, died of unknown causes although it is suspected she got trampled by rioters trying to enter the Capitol.
It is known that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning a day before the Capitol riot. The warning said that something was being planned by extremist groups to protest the certification of the electoral college votes. USA Today, in an article named “’We get our President or we die’: FBI issued dire warning day before Capitol riots; 170 suspects investigated,” said, “The FBI issued a dire warning on the day before the Capitol riots that violent extremists were planning an armed uprising in Washington, a plot the attackers described as “war” to coincide with Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, officials confirmed Tuesday.”
According to reports, the FBI had been gathering information that pointed to attacks for some time. Much of the information came from social media sites and was reported to the FBI almost immediately after every post. The reports and intelligence that the FBI had been gathering “included a “thread from a message board” that described an array of preparations for an assault, including a map of Capitol-area tunnels and staging areas,” said USA Today.
Pieces of evidence in the report cited posts that called for violence and vandalism of the Capitol. One such post,“We get our President or we die” is from where USA Today derived its article title.
The FBI was aware of the threat to the Capitol and was on alert should anything happen, though it does remain unclear whether or not security at the Capitol was changed in response to the threats. However, early preventative measures were taken such as stopping known persons from travelling to the Capitol and had threatened violence.
As well, USA Today reports that the FBI investigation led to the arrest of the “Proud Boys” leader. “As a result, D’Antuono said some of that intelligence prompted the pre-riot arrest of Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right group Proud Boys that supports President Donald Trump,” USA Today said.
Post-riot, 70 people have been arrested and charged with 170 people being investigated and waiting for charges. A key part of the investigation is whether or not some members of the mob were planning on taking Congress members hostage. Said USA Today, “Federal authorities have not ruled out that some in the mob, who were carrying plastic hand-restraints known as zip-ties, may have intended to take lawmakers hostage.”
In the aftermath of the Capitol riot and Joe Biden’s inauguration taking place on Jan. 20th, security has been increased for the event. Planning for the event has begun taking place and Biden’s security team was warned of threats of further violence on the 20th. In fact, many state capitals and government buildings are increasing security due to numerous suspicions of additional riots in state capitols.