Four people died and 52 were arrested, said the chief of police in Washington DC, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US capital on Wednesday to prevent Congress from certifying the election of President-elect Joe Biden in the election.
At a news conference late in the evening, Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee said 47 of the 52 arrests so far were related to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s curfew at 6 p.m., with 26 of them involving people arrested at the U.S. Capitol.
Several others were arrested on charges related to carrying unlicensed or prohibited firearms.
In addition, Contee said two pipe bombs were recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on U.S. Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.
Contee declined to identify the woman who was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer, saying the relatives’ report was still pending.
Three other people also died on Wednesday due to medical emergencies, he added and 14 policemen were injured, two of whom are still in hospital.
It was not clear if other federal or local police agencies, including the Capitol Police, had made further arrests.
Security forces are asking the public for help
While the number of people arrested is expected to grow, the initial number will be paler compared to the more than 300 people arrested by police after the June 1 protests in the district related to the police murder of George Floyd.
In that incident, baton-swinging police and federal agents fired smoke cans, flashbang grenades and rubber bullets to drive protesters further from the White House, allowing President Donald Trump to walk across Lafayette Park and hold up a Bible in front of St. John’s Church.
While the police faced strong criticism for being too aggressive in Lafayette Square, however, the Capitol Police now face questions about why they did not do more to secure the Capitol and later allowed many of the rioters to leave the building without arrest.
Mayor Bowser said police intend to ask the public for help identifying rioters, many of whom posed for photos inside the Capitol and can be seen in viral videos on social media without face masks.
“We will keep an eye out,” she said. “We believe that some of them must be held responsible for the massacre.”
Late Wednesday, the FBI also asked the public to submit tips, such as photos, videos and other information, to help agents identify people who “actively incite violence.”
Bowser also extended a public emergency for 15 days, a measure she said would allow her to restrict people’s movements around the city if needed.