Four people died and another 52 were arrested as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol amid the electoral vote certification process Wednesday afternoon. Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee confirmed during a news conference alongside Mayor Muriel Bowser that one woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police during the rioting and three others – a woman and two men – died of "separate medical emergencies" near the Capitol grounds.
Although Contee at the time did not release the identities of the dead, the family of the woman shot and killed confirmed to numerous outlets her name to be Ashli Babbit, a San Diego business owner who had traveled to Washington, D.C. According to reporters, Babbit was shot in the chest while in the Capitol. Contee said Babbit, who was initially reported to be in critical condition, was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead, The Hill reports.
The riots broke out Wednesday afternoon as both chambers of Congress convened for a special joint session to certify the electoral vote count and confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win. Trump supporters, who had earlier listened to the president deliver a speech in which he said, "we are going to walk down to the Capitol," gathered in the hundreds near the Capitol building. They eventually pushed through barricades and breached the Capitol building, forcing lockdowns.
The Associated Press reports that authorities said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the Capitol building. During the press conference, Contee said at least 14 officers sustained injuries during the riots. One officer was "pulled into the crowd and assaulted," resulting in "serious injuries" that required hospitalization. Contee said another officer was also hospitalized. That officer's injuries remain unclear. Authorities also recovered two pipe bombs near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee as well as a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
Hours after the occupation began, officials confirmed the Capitol building was secure. Contee said responding authorities, which included members of D.C. National Guard, began "securing the perimeter around the Capitol Building" around 7:15 p.m. Of the 52 arrests made, four were for carrying pistols without a license and one for possession of a prohibited weapon. Contee added that 26 of the arrests made were made on Capitol grounds.
As a result of the riots, Bowser issued a curfew that began at 6 p.m. ET. An emergency declaration was also extended through Jan. 21, the day after Biden is set to be inaugurated, allowing the city to access additional resources to prevent further civil disturbances. Wednesday night, both chambers of Congress reconvened to continue the certification process, confirming Biden's victory just before 4 a.m. Thursday.