WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The U.S. Capitol locked down Wednesday with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump and police.
The pro-Trump crowd breached security perimeters at the Capitol and lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda.
Police say one person was shot inside the U.S. Capitol. She later died, according to officials.
Lawmakers had been meeting to affirm Joe Biden’s victory, and we are hearing from those who represent Georgia.
The chaos occurred the same day Georgia was in the spotlight following a historic US Senate runoff. Democrat Raphael Warnock is the projected winner over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was at the Capitol to reject the electoral college vote, as she previously said she would do. Democrat Jon Ossoff was named the projected winner in his race against Republican David Perdue on Wednesday.
Loeffler took to Twitter hours after the chaos began to say she condemns the attacks on the Capitol.
"Violence is abhorrent and I strongly condemn today’s attacks on our Capitol. We must stand united as one nation under God. I’m grateful for our brave men and women of law enforcement. May God bless America."
When Congress re-convened Wednesday night, soon after law enforcement secured the Capitol, to resume the process of certifying the electoral college votes, Loeffler rose to say that even though reforms are needed to prevent election fraud, she had changed her mind and would no longer join those who are trying to overturn Biden's electoral college win.
"The events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider. And I cannot now, in good conscience, object to the certification of these electors. The violence, the lawlessness, the siege of the halls of Congress, are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect--the sanctity of the American democratic process."
Warnock, who defeated Loeffler, quoted Martin Luther King on Twitter.
"In this moment of unrest, violence and anger, we must remember the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Let each of us try to be a light to see our country out of this dark moment," Warnock wrote.
Ossoff said on Twitter that the attack was "incited by Trump's poisonous lies."
"Today’s insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol was incited by Trump’s poisonous lies & flagrant assault on our Constitution," he said on Twitter. The GOP must discard and disavow Trump once and for all, end its attacks on the electoral process, & commit fully to the peaceful transfer of power."
Perdue issued a statement Wednesday evening, calling the actions at the U.S. Capitol "un-American."
"The violence at the U.S. Capitol today is disgraceful and un-American," the statement said. "We are a nation of laws and the greatest Democracy in the history of the world. No level of frustration or disappointment in our political process excuses such despicable, anarchic behavior. God bless the Capitol Police and all law enforcement and first responders who are working to protect lives and prevent further destruction in our nation's capital."
"I’m safe," Rep. Nikema Williams, (D) GA-05, Tweeted. "The Capitol building is on lockdown and the House and Senate are in recess."
Rep. Williams told 11Alive News that President Donald Trump "has incited the violence. He has created the chaos that’s here today. He created the domestic terrorists that stormed the United States capitol and are inside of the building right now, armed."
"The violence and anarchy is unacceptable and must end. Please listen to @realdonaldtrump's call to stay peaceful immediately. Thank you to our Capitol Police and law enforcement," Rep. Buddy Carter, (R) GA-01, Tweeted.
"Violence against our brave law enforcement is not in line with our values as freedom loving Americans. I strongly support our rights to peacefully protest, but strongly condemn any acts of violence against our brave officers of the Capitol Police or others," Rep. Barry Loudermilk, (R) GA-11, Tweeted.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R) GA-14, posted a video message from what appeared to be a dark room and said "This is not time for violence. This is a time to support President Trump and support election integrity."
Congressman Hank Johnson, (D) GA-04, said on Facebook that "We must end this assault on our democracy."
"This country faces unprecedented crises, with a global pandemic and millions of people out of work. We must end this assault on our democracy, accept that the American people chose Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States and get to work to save lives and livelihoods during this challenging moment," Johnson said.
Georgia State Rep. Philip Singleton, (R) Sharpsburg, said on Facebook that "protesting is okay, violent rioting is NOT." He added: "If you are a Patriot in DC right now, please promote PEACE."
Congressman Rick Allen, (R) GA-12, on Facebook said he's safe.
"I'm in a safe, secure location," Allen wrote. "The violence in our U.S. Capitol is anti-American and unacceptable. I urge all protestors to respect our law enforcement and immediately leave the building."
On Twitter, Rep. Lucy McBath, (D) GA-06, also told her followers she is safe.
"The actions of those seeking to overturn the will of the people are dangerous and destructive, but they will not succeed," she said.
McBath also released a statement later in the evening saying she would be "asking Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process of removing President Trump from office."
"The eyes of the world are upon us, and the President's incitement of violence, his inducement of chaos, and his inability to faithfully "discharge the powers and duties of his office" make it clear. The President has refused to protect our democracy and must be removed," the statement said.
Republican former congressman Doug Collins of Georgia, one of President Trump's closest political allies, said on Facebook that his heart breaks and America is better than this.
"There is absolutely no excuse for the anarchy that occurred at the U.S. Capitol today," Collins said. "This violence is wrong and needs to stop now."
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, (D) GA-07, said she "condemns what happened in the strongest possible terms."
"Today, armed pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed our nation’s Capitol and a person was shot. I condemn what happened in the strongest possible terms — and we need to be clear that the outgoing president and his enablers have routinely fanned the flames that sparked today's riots," Bourdeaux said on Facebook.
She also said the House should impeach the president immediately.
"The president not only has solicited election fraud in Georgia," Bourdeaux told 11Alive Wednesday evening while she and other Congress members were on lock-down--referring to Trump's phone call this past Saturday with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger--"but then he turned around and incited violence with lies and this mob that just converged on the Capitol, and broke onto the Senate floor. It is outrageous. It is unacceptable. It is a very sobering day for our country and for our democracy, and it is time for more accountability."
Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, a Trump-supporting Democrat from Conyers who is leaving office next week and switching to the Republican Party, said on Twitter not to drown the message with violence.
"To the peaceful Patriots who came to our nation’s Capitol today, we can not drown out our message with violence. We are not ANTIFA or a lawless a mob. We are Americans who believe in the rule law and follow the principles of our constitution."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said this on Twitter:
11Alive has reached out to other state representatives for comments on this developing story.