The thousands of rioters who violated the United States Capitol on Wednesday sparked shocked global reactions, with around 70 arrests and four dead on Thursday.
Rioters descended on Washington, DC for a rally to support US President Donald Trump and “Stop the Steal,” a move to keep Trump in power that claims fraud cost him the November election and gave him victory to President-elect Joe Biden.
They violated the Capitol as a joint session of Congress went to certify Biden’s victory, resulting in hours of delay before results were certified in what is normally a mundane process.
The crowd of Trump supporters was large and appears to have included people from all over the United States. A few appeared as faces of the occupation of the Capitol. Here is what we know.
Of the four people who died, one was shot dead inside the Capitol complex. Her name was Ashli Babbitt and she was 35 years old.
According to local media, Babbitt was a 14-year veteran of the California Air Force.
KUSI News interviewed her husband, who said Babbitt was a “strong supporter” of Trump.
The Guardian reported that Babbitt had made four military tours abroad, including to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Babbitt’s Twitter page features retweets of right-wing characters and memes aligned with Trump. Many tweets contain comments supporting Lin Wood, a pro-Trump lawyer who was at the forefront of an unsuccessful legal campaign according to which widespread electoral fraud won President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency.
Nothing will stop us…. They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it’s coming down to DC in less than 24 hours…. From darkness to light!
– CommonAshSense (@Ashli_Babbitt) January 5, 2021
A day before the protest in Washington, DC, Babbitt tweeted, “Nothing will stop us… they can try and try but the storm is here and it’s coming down to DC in less than 24 hours… from darkness to light!”
The other three deaths were medical emergencies, according to DC police. They are identified as follows: Kevin Greeson, 55, of Alabama, Benjamin Philips, 50, of Pennsylvania and Roseanne Boylin, 34, of Georgia.
Jake Angeli, the shirtless man with horns, is among the most striking figures in the photos of the occupation of the Capitol.
Angeli has been a part of the Arizona Capitol Building since 2019, where he’s been seen espousing various conspiracy theories that seem to fit into the vast body of beliefs of QAnon.
Angeli told the Arizona Republic in an October 2020 interview that he wears fur and horns for attention so he can talk about QAnon. He refers to himself as the “Q Shaman”.
Followers of QAnon’s conspiracy theory believe that an anonymous government official called “Q” is providing classified information in Internet publications about a cannibalistic and satanic cabal of “Deep State” characters.
These numbers engage in a child trafficking ring that Trump has been chosen to dismantle. Given his leading role in shutting down the “deep state,” many QAnon supporters have rallied to keep Trump in power.
While some may find these theories unbelievable, and the extent to which adherents believe them is unknown, Angeli told the Arizona Republic that “the snowball has rolled and is only getting bigger. … We are the mainstream now ”.
Man in Pelosi’s Office
The man pictured inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been identified as Richard Barnett, a man from Arkansas, in interviews with local media and the New York Times.
Barnett traveled to Washington, DC to hear Trump speak, according to an Arkansas media interview 5NEWS.
Authorities began gassing the crowd – urged on by Trump – as they marched towards the Capitol, Barnett said. As they reached the Capitol, Barnett claimed to be pushed inside by protesters and then found Pelosi’s office.
“I threw my feet on the desk at that point. I realized that holes had cut me too and I bled on his envelope, so I took the envelope and put it in my pocket, and put a quarter on the desk because (sic) I’m not a thief, ”Barnett told 5NEWS.
This is Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Ak., Showing the personalized envelope he took from President Pelosi’s office. He insisted he hadn’t stolen it – “I left a quarter on his desk.” pic.twitter.com/aST7MCoRwP
– Matthew Rosenberg (@AllMattNYT) January 6, 2021
According to The Hill, Barnett called himself a “white nationalist” and raised money for “Save our Children,” a charity that fights child trafficking but which was recently co-opted by QAnon members.
The FBI has called on the public to help identify those present on Capitol Hill. There are calls for federal charges, which are expected to be filed against the rioters on Thursday.
Asked about the charges, Barnett told 5NEWS: “Am I scared? Surely not. But yes, there is a possibility. I did not do anything. I didn’t break down the doors. I was pushed. I didn’t want to be there. Hell. I was walking around looking for a bathroom.