Federal authorities expect to arrest more than a dozen pro-Trump rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent assault, with some suspects likely to be picked up on Thursday, officials said.
Acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a statement Thursday denounced the violence that left four people dead -- a woman identified as Ashli Babbitt who was trying to break through a door inside the Capitol building and three others from unknown medical emergencies.
“Our criminal prosecutors have been working throughout the night with special agents and investigators from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, ATF, Metropolitan Police Department and the public to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted,” Rosen said.
“Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law,” he added.
Investigators are combing social media and cell phone records to determine who was involved in the destructive security breach that made international headlines.
The US Secretary of the Army also said some 800 security personnel to be on US Capitol grounds for next 30 days, according to reports.
The riots broke out around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday as thousands of pro-Trump agitators stormed through the metal barriers around the U.S. Capitol and entered the building, forcing lawmakers trying to certify Joe Biden’s electoral college win to flee the inner chamber.
Footage of the chaos shows overwhelmed Capitol police struggling to stop the violent mob from entering the building and making it to the floor of Congress where lawmakers were holding a hearing on the legitimacy of Biden’s one-sided victory.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said the riots were “unlike anything” he’s experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement in D.C.
Rioters breach U.S. Capitol during pro-Trump rally
“Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge ... But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced,” he said, noting that multiple pipe bombs were discovered in cars around the building even as rioters fought their way inside.
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