Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol police condemn "criminal riotous behavior," DC police confirm 4 deaths

Officers stand behind a pane of broken glass with a column of the Capitol behind it
U.S. Capitol Police inspect a damaged entrance of the Capitol on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Capitol police confirmed that an officer shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on Wednesday during a siege of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob as Congress was set to certify Electoral College votes for Joe Biden.

Catch up quick: Capitol police released additional details of their response to the mob on Thursday, saying that people used metal pipes and chemical irritants against officers while breaching the building. Only 14 people were arrested in total by the Capitol police.

  • Capitol police chief Steven Sund said that medical assistance was given "immediately" to Babbitt after she was shot, and that she died from her injuries after being hospitalized. According to the Washington Post, Babbit's former husband said she was an Air Force veteran. The Post noted that her social media profiles were filled with messages supportive of President Trump.
  • The officer who fired the shot that killed Babbit has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, according to Sund.
  • Washington DC's police force said their preliminary data showed 68 arrests and 4 deaths, according to MPD spokesperson Kristen Metzger. In addition to Babbitt, 1 woman died of medical emergency because she was crushed during the breach at the Capitol, Metzger said Wednesday, and 2 adult males died because of medical emergencies.
  • On Friday, Metzger said in a statement of the other woman who died: “I was given preliminary information that she was crushed and then I was told later that she suffered from a medical emergency.“ She did not elaborate further what caused the medical emergency, but a friend of the woman, Justin Winchell, told CBS46 that he had attempted to pull his friend off the floor during the chaos "then another guy fell on top of her, and another guy was just walking [on top of her]. "There were people stacked 2-3 deep…people just crushed.”
  • 56 officers reported injuries.

Of note: Two pipe bombs that were "hazardous and could cause great harm to public safety" were also discovered by Capitol police on Wednesday, as well as a suspicious vehicle. The devices have been disabled and are in FBI custody for analysis.

  • 14 people were arrested — the suspicious vehicle's owner as well as 13 others for "unlawful entry of the U.S. Capitol."
  • Over 18 state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies plus the National Guard responded to the attack. Over 50 U.S. Capitol police and D.C. officers were injured, and several have been hospitalized with "serious injuries."

What they're saying: "The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.," Sund said in a statement.

  • "[M]ake no mistake — these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior," he said.
  • Sund says the force is "conducting a thorough review of this incident, security planning and policies and procedures."
  • Several lawmakers called for investigations into the security breach. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said there needed to be a "total overhaul" of Capitol security.

This post has been updated with additional comment from Kristen Metzger of the MPD.

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