Alabamians in D.C. share experience during riots

Local News

Washington, D.C. (WIAT) – Many residents in Washington D.C. had to evacuate their homes during the riots Wednesday, including an Alabama native who lives two blocks away from the Capitol Building.

Betsy Byrne tells CBS 42 she is doing ok, but still processing everything that happened in one of America’s darkest days in history.

“The American people as whole can understand that was an unprecedented event in our nations history,” Byrne said.

She calls the act of the rioters who stormed the Capitol steps inexcusable.

“It’s a shame to our country. And…just a disappointment,” Byrne said.

Byrnes says she was working from home when everything transpired.

“The biggest moment of fear was the moment when I was evacuated from my apartment building,” Byrne said.

“I had time to grab my backpack from the table, and my purse, and I had my pet. Poor thing. I just had to put her in my purse. And I ran,” Byrne said.

She was able to seek shelter with a near by relative after she evacuated the area. But she couldn’t stop thinking about some of her friends who were inside the Capitol during the riots.

“My situation, while scary to me, was nothing compared to what Congress members and their staff went through,” Byrne said.

Melinda Tsang from Huntsville was there as a Trump supporter.

“I saw tear gas several times and it was getting colder and I just said we need to go,” Tsang said.

For the most part, she says things Wednesday were peaceful until rioters entered the building. She says the actions of the few shouldn’t divide the nation.

“The things that are going on in the United States should not be happening right now. There should not be all of this division in our country,” Tsang said.

But in the darkness of everything, Byrne still has hope.

“Seeing Congress go back into session and continue the job they set out to do last night and not allowing the events of yesterday afternoon of getting in the way of moving forward with democracy,” Byrne said.

Byrne is thankful for the friends and family who checked in on her during the events.

Tsang and her friends were able to leave the area safely and return home on Thursday.

Byrne believes the country can and will bounce back from this as one.

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