National Guard activated after protesters storm Capitol, force evacuations

By , Connecting Vets

Washington, D.C. National Guard troops were deployed to the United States Capitol complex after protesters stormed the Capitol building, clashing with police and forcing evacuations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested National Guard support for Capitol police on Wednesday as protesters breached the Capitol complex, tear gas was deployed in the rotunda and police faced off with protesters at the doors to the House chamber with guns drawn.

"The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Wednesday. "Acting Secretary Miller has been in contact with Congressional leadership, and Secretary McCarthy has been working with the D.C. government. The law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump ordered the Guard and other federal protective services to respond.

"We reiterate President Trump's call against violence and to remain peaceful," McEnany said in a statement.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy's office released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying the Pentagon would consider requests for additional support.

"We are in close contact with local and federal law enforcement agencies to review potential additional support requirements for the D.C. National Guard."

Bowser activated about 340 National Guard troops for expected protests in the city surrounding Congress' expected vote to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 election win.

The Guard troops were expected to be used for traffic control and law enforcement assistance, but were not sent with body armor and were not armed. A change of mission may be required to send them to respond to the Capitol complex, a Department of Defense official told Connecting Vets Wednesday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday confirmed that he was sending members of the Virginia National Guard to Washington at Bowser's request, along with 200 state troopers. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also announced that Guard troops and state police would be sent to assist D.C. law enforcement.

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Navy veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees said she was evacuated from her Capitol Hill office on Wednesday "because of a pipe bomb reported outside" she said supporters of the president were attempting to force their way into the Capitol "and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots."

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that at least one person was shot at the Capitol, though additional information was not immediately available.

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