Officials say U.S. Capitol Complex secure after hours of violent occupation

Washington-DC

UPDATE: Officials have 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.

WASHINGTON (WRBL) – The U.S. Capitol locked down as lawmakers met to certify the results of the November Presidential Election. Supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with police during a second day of protests.

New video shows the moments law enforcement officers began to clear out the U.S. Capitol Complex around 5:30 p.m. Please be advised that there is some profanity in the video, viewer discretion is advised.

The chaos at the Capitol has prevented the Electoral College from certifying the results of November’s Presidential Election.

President Trump asked his supporters to be peaceful.

President-elect Joe Biden denounced the violence currently unfolding at the Capitol, asking for “just simple decency” as protests continued.

Members of Congress have been asked to put on gas masks as skirmishes between protesters and police remain active.

According to reporting by the Associated Press, a person familiar with the ongoing protests has confirmed one person was shot as clashes continued. The source for the AP spoke to them on condition of anonymity amid a chaotic situation.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam confirmed that he would send National Guard members to the protests in Washington, as well as 200 Virginia state troopers.

Photos inside the House Chamber show officers with pistols drawn as they try to barricade the room against protesters attempting to break in.

New reporting from the Associated Press says that “at least one explosive device” has been found near the U.S. Capitol, but law enforcement officials say it is no longer a threat.

WRBL has reached out to our local lawmakers for Alabama and Georgia to see if they’re safe and speak with them about the civil unrest currently unfolding in the nation’s capitol.

So far, WRBL has gotten statements and interviews from Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop, who is currently sheltering in his Congressional Office in Washington.

“I’m appalled by it, not so much that the people are protesting, but that they have violated the accepted protocols and actually stormed the capitol. It’s a very volatile situation. I think were it not for the forbearance of  the officers, it could possibly have escalated into something dangerous. The officers apparently appear to be standing down, they’re far outnumbered by the protestors and of course they have not done anything so far apparently to escalate,” Rep. Bishop said.

WRBL has also gotten word from Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer. The Congressman is currently in Washington, a spokesperson confirmed he is safe.

A spokesperson for Alabama Rep. Barry Moore says the Congressman is safe and doing well, but was not able to provide a more formal statement at this time.

WRBL Staff are still working to get in contact with Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville and the other members of the two states’ Congressional Delegations.

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks released the following statement on Twitter in response to the violence at the Capitol:

Senator Richard Shelby confirmed that he is safe during the ongoing clash in the capitol via Twitter.

Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell confirmed she is safe and sheltering via Twitter.

Rep. Robert Aderholt also confirmed he was able to evacuate as protesters breached the building’s security.

The Congressman also released a statement on the events in the Capitol, saying:

“I was on the House Floor this afternoon objecting to the electoral votes with many of my colleagues. We had to evacuate due to a security breach. I ask for your prayers during this time in our nation’s history. God has brought this nation through many dark days over the past 240 plus years. We have more times than not, been able to settle our disputes peaceably. I believe God will continue to guide and protect this nation. However, as a nation we need to seek his guidance in peace. He is in full control!”

Rep. Robert Aderholt

A spokesman for Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson confirmed that the Congressman is safe.

Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merill and the state’s Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth both weighed in on the ongoing violence via Twitter:

Georgia Rep. Rick Allen told reporters in Augusta for WJBF that he, and “everyone” is safe as the protests continue in the Capitol, and called the violence in Washington “Anti-American and unacceptable.”

In Columbus, Mayor Skip Henderson spoke with News 3, offering a local perspective on what’s happening in Washington.

“I don’t have words.  I am so disappointed.  This is something that I would expect to see on international news sites going on in other countries.  But never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see something like this in the United States,” Henderson said, though he does not think unrest will break out in Columbus.

Alabama Rep. Jerry Carl reacted to the violence in Washington, praying for the safety of his colleagues while asserting the right for Americans to protest peacefully.

Both the Alabama Republican and Democratic Parties also reacted to the ongoing violence in the Capitol.

In an exclusive interview with WRBL’s Chuck Williams, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about the election results and the ongoing unrest at the Capitol.

The same day he was released from the hospital for treatment of COVID-19, Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin condemned the actions at the Capitol as unpatriotic and domestic terrorism.

Reactions to the ongoing unrest in Washington from around U.S. allies from around the world have ranged from dismay to calling the whole event “heinous.”

Stay with News 3 as we continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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