Video and Photo by Ford Fischer
Story by Joel Simon
Special thanks TJ Jones

All videos and photos in this story are available for license.

What began as a day of speeches turned violent as pro-Trump activists stormed Capitol Grounds following the “Save America Rally” on the National Mall Wednesday afternoon.

The day began peacefully, as pro-Trump speakers, including both of Trump’s adult sons, addressed a crowd of thousands at the Ellipse outside the White House. The speeches were capped off by remarks from the President himself. Trump aired many grievances over the course of his more than hour long speech, signaling out Vice President Mike Pence and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Jr, as well as encouraging his voters to march to the Capitol building, where the House and Senate were convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump urged Pence to “do the right thing,” and reject electoral votes from certain states.

The Vice President does not have the authority to act in that way, and later in the day, Pence affirmed that he cannot claim “unilateral authority” to reject a state’s electoral votes.

Trump repeated claims that he had won the election in Georgia “by a lot” and lambasted Kemp and other GA Republicans for accepting Biden’s victory in the state. He went on to say that American elections were “worse than those in third-world countries.”

“We fight like hell,” Trump said. “We don’t want to see our election stolen by radical left democrats, we will never give up and we will never concede, you don’t concede when there’s theft involved. We will ‘Stop the Steal’.”

Following the President’s statements, a large group of activists walked from the Ellipse down to the Capitol Building. Once there, the scene quickly turned into a riot as pro-Trump activists clashed with Capitol Police. As onlookers cheered “fight for Trump” and insurgents yelled epithets at security forces, the pro-Trump group fought through various crowd-control munitions deployed by the Capitol Police and succeeded in pushing through the Police lines up to the entrances to the Capitol. Police inside attempted to secure doorways and windows, but eventually, insurgents successfully broke through on several fronts.

“Mike Pence…you’ve caused [this situation],” One Trump supporter told News2Share in regards to the death of Trump supporter Ashley Babbitt at the hands of law enforcement. “If we gotta come back here and start a revolution and take all of these traitors out…then we will.” The man added. Babbitt was shot inside the Capitol by security forces as she and other activists smashed glass and attempted to enter a closed-off area.

Inside the Capitol, rioters vandalized the senate floor and various offices, including that of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Pictures of the intruders posing on the dais of the senate went viral shortly after.

Outside the Capitol, rioters charged through a pen set up to house media. As reporters and photographers fled, the angry crowd smashed the filming and audio equipment left behind.

Eventually, local police, aided by reinforcements from neighboring police departments and National Guardsmen, were able to expel the intruders and re-establish a security perimeter.

At the time of publication, four persons reportedly died in the event. In addition to Babbitt, three others, two males and one female, were pronounced dead due to “medical events.” DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee III did not provide additional information about the deceased, saying that they had yet to be examined by a medical examiner.

The events of the day drew a strong rebuke from President-Elect Joe Biden (D-DE), who emphasized the importance of American Democracy and urged “decency”. They also drew near-bipartisan condemnation from elected officials on all sides, as well as international leaders.

As President Pence reconvened the senate to continue the election certification process, he condemned the violence and said “to those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you didn’t win, violence never wins. The world will now witness the unprecedented strength of our democracy.”