Four Dead as National Guard Deployed To Washington DC After Pro-Trump Mob Storms Capitol

The Maryland National Guard and Virginia National Guard are being deployed to Washington, D.C. alongside state police of both states. Orders for their deployment were made by their respective state governors following requests from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after an angry mob stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt today’s counting of Electoral College votes.

In a statement on Twitter, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote

“At my direction, the @MDSP is sending in troopers to assist the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police. I have instructed the Adjutant General of the @MDNG to call up a rapid response force to support law enforcement and restore order.”

Virginia Governor Ralph Norham’s statement read:

“My team and I are working closely with @MayorBowser, @SpeakerPelosi, and @SenSchumer to respond to the situation in Washington, D.C.

Per the Mayor’s request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.”

The deployment of the Maryland and Virginia National Guard follows a continued lack of response from the District of Columbia National Guard to today’s scenes. Pentagon spokesperson Johnathan Hoffman has since said that the D.C. National Guard has been mobilized to “provide support to federal law enforcement in the District“, emphasizing that the Department of Justice would be leading the response by law enforcement. 

An angry pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol building earlier today, with the first attempts to push through barriers around the building made around 1PM ET. According to the police, the mob broke into the Capitol building proper 90 minutes later, necessitating the locking of doors to the House and Senate and the evacuation of the House floor shortly afterwards.

Capitol Police barricading the door to the Senate (via social media)

Photographs from the scene showed an armed standoff at the blocked door to the Senate, with police officers having their weapons trained on people trying to break through. Pipe bombs have reportedly been discovered at both the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee buildings among other locations in the Capitol, necessitating their evacuation.

The mob’s storming of the Capitol follows a rally earlier today where President Trump encouraged those present to go to the Capitol in support of members of Congress who planned to object to some electoral college votes, claiming electoral fraud. After tweeting that the mob should “remain peaceful”, Trump has since uploaded a video on his Twitter account where he tells the mob “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace, we have to have law and order”, while reiterating claims of election fraud. YouTube and Facebook have removed the videos from their platforms, citing concerns that the continued claims of election fraud may stoke further unrest.

Mayor Bowser has since ordered a citywide curfew from 6PM to 6AM on Thursday, prohibiting anyone other than essential workers from being outdoors during the curfew. This curfew has now been expanded to Alexandria and Arlington in neighbouring Virginia. Reports and amateur video indicate that a woman was in critical condition after being shot, although it was not immediately clear as to what happened. The woman, who has yet to be identified, has died of her wounds. Tallies of other injured persons remain unavailable.

President-elect Joe Biden described the storming as an “unprecedented assault” on democracy in a live address, saying that the siege “must end. Now.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the scenes were “shocking“, adding that “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.” 

It is has been confirmed that certification of the Electoral College results will resume tonight. The Capitol’s Sergeant at Arms is now reporting that the Capitol is now clear of intruders. These unprecedented scenes at the Capitol will only add fuel to the unrest surrounding the presidential election result.

UPDATE: KUSI News and other outletshave identified the deceased woman as Ashli Babbit, an Air Force veteran with 14 years of service. Her social media activity prior to the storming of the Capitol and her subsequent death show strong support for Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory, with messaging for the latter strongly represented among the paraphernalia other members of the mob carried. Police report that three other people died of “separate medical emergencies” near the Capitol building, but details remain unknown.

Twitter locked Trump’s Twitter account for 12 hours following the removal of three tweets directed at the mob, including the video where he urged them to “go home”, saying that further violations of Twitter rules would result in a permanent suspension of his Twitter account.

Facebook has locked Trump’s Facebook and Instagram page for 24 hours as well, alongside removing photos and videos posted by mob members from inside the Capitol, saying that they “represent promotion of criminal activity which violates our policies”.

Joe Biden’s election victory has now been officially certified, after the resumed certification process wound up running past 3AM on Thursday due to obstruction attempts from Republican House members that ultimately failed. Trump has since said that there will be an orderly transition of power on January 20, but continued to dispute the legitimacy of the election in a statement issued through a spokesperson following the locking of his Twitter account.