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Timeline: Chaos at the U.S. Capitol and the aftermath

AP Photo // Jose Luis Magana

Here are the key events surrounding the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify electoral votes.

Posted: Jan 7, 2021 2:02 PM

Below is a timeline of events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 – the day Congress met to certify Electoral College votes in Washington D.C., and were interrupted as hundreds of protesters stormed the building.

11:10 p.m.

Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”

Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hour-long occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.


10 p.m.

Police arrested 30 people for violating a curfew imposed in Washington, D.C., after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Officials said the 30 people were arrested Wednesday evening after being found on the streets after the 6 p.m.

The Metropolitan Police Department said 15 other people had been arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday in various protest-related arrests on an array of charges, including weapons possession and assault.

Fire officials also took 13 people to area hospitals on Wednesday from protest-related injuries.


9:10 pm.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard to Washington, D.C., to help “the peaceful transition of presidential power.”

Cuomo said 1,000 troops would be sent for up to two weeks at the request of U.S. National Guard officials.

They will join law enforcement from Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey who are also coming to D.C.’s aid.


7:45 p.m.

The Republican National Committee said it strongly condemns the violence at the Capitol, adding that the violent scenes “do not represent acts of patriotism, but an attack on our country and its founding principles.”

The RNC is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform.

The group’s communications director, Michael Ahrens, said, “What happened today was domestic terrorism.”

He said to see the U.S. flag used “in the name of unfounded conspiracy theories is a disgrace to the nation, and every decent American should be disgusted by it.”


6:55 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Congress would resume the Electoral College proceedings once the Capitol is cleared of protesters and safe for use.

Pelosi said she made the decision Wednesday in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.

She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”


6:10 p.m.

A woman who was shot inside the U.S. Capitol, according to two officials familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.


5:50 p.m.

Officials declared the U.S. Capitol complex “secure” after heavily armed police moved to end a nearly four-hour violent occupation by supporters of President Donald Trump.

An announcement saying “the Capitol is secure” rang out Wednesday evening inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applauded.


5:40 p.m.

Police used tear gas and percussion grenades to clear protesters from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a 6 p.m. curfew in Washington.

Police donned gas masks as they moved in Wednesday evening with force to clear protesters from the Capitol grounds shortly before a curfew took hold.


4:40 p.m.

In a video message on Twitter that has since been deleted, Trump told supporters to “go home,” but was also making false claims about the presidential election.

The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol.

Trump opened his video, saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.” He also went on to call the supporters “very special.” He also said, “we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special.”


4:35 p.m.

At least one explosive device was found near the U.S. Capitol amid the riot. Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat Wednesday afternoon.

Vice President Mike Pence has called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than Trump, who merely called for his supporters to “remain peaceful.”


4:10 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business.”

Biden also demanded President Donald Trump to immediately make a televised address calling on his supporters to cease the violence that he described as an “unprecedented assault’ as pro-Trump protestors violently occupy U.S. Capitol.


4:05 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is calling on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than President Donald Trump who merely called for his supporters to “remain peaceful.”

In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”


4 p.m.

About 1,100 D.C. National Guard members were mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.

Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.

A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces were called in to set up checkpoints and for other similar duties to aid in enforcing the 6 p.m. curfew.


3:35 p.m.

The Department of Homeland Security sent additional federal agents to the U.S. Capitol to help quell violence from protesters.

A spokesperson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents were sent to the scene. He says they were requested to assist by U.S. Capitol Police.


3:30 p.m.

One person was shot at the U.S. Capitol as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police. The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The victim was taken to a hospital.


3:15 p.m.

A Defense Department official said Washington, D.C., requested an additional 200 National Guard members.

According to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military at the Capitol. Instead, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.


2:50 p.m.

Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid the protests.

Law enforcement instructed lawmakers to retrieve masks from under their seats. The Capitol building was placed on lockdown, as Trump supporters marched through evacuated public spaces in the building.


2:47 p.m.

President Donald Trump tweeted to his supporters to “stay peaceful” as they violently clash with law enforcement and breached the Capitol building.

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” Trump tweeted, as tear gas was deployed in the locked-down Capitol. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

Trump at a rally earlier Wednesday encouraged his supporters to head to the Capitol. “We’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said.


1:55 p.m.

The U.S. Capitol Police evacuated some congressional office buildings due to “police activity” as thousands gathered outside the Capitol to protest the electoral vote.

Police told congressional staff members they should evacuate the Cannon House Office Building and the building that houses the Library of Congress.

Thousands of people have descended on the U.S. Capitol as Congress is expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win. Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with U.S. Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.

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