Police Fatally Shoot Woman in Congress Chaos, 3 Others Die of ‘Medical Emergencies’

The U.S. Capitol police fatally shot a woman during Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump.

Robert Contee, the chief of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, said the shooting occurred after mobs had forced their way into the Capitol and people attempted to break into the House chamber.

“They were confronted by plainclothes U.S. Capitol Police officers, at which time one Capitol Police officer discharged their service weapon striking an adult female,” Contee said at a press conference, adding that the woman was pronounced dead at a hospital.

He did not identify the woman and did not provide further details, but said that his department’s internal affairs unit was investigating the episode.

Contee, who was sworn in just last week, said that two men and a woman, also not identified, had died “from separate medical emergencies” in the Capitol area. He did not elaborate.

During the crisis, a striking image emerged of the plainclothes officers aiming their weapons at the ornate doors of the barricaded chamber, and video showed officers attending to a bloodied woman lying on the floor inside the building.

At least 52 people had been arrested as of late Wednesday night, including four on charges of carrying unlicensed pistols. Contee said 47 of the arrests involved unlawful entry or violations of a curfew ordered by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Pipe bombs were discovered at the headquarters of both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, and Molotov cocktails and “a long gun” were seized from a vehicle on the Capitol grounds, according to Contee.

He added that at least 14 of his officers were hurt during confrontations with demonstrators, including one who suffered serious injuries when “he was pulled into a crowd.”

Bowser pointed out that the Washington police do not have jurisdiction over the Capitol complex.

The violence occurred after the attack disrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory by both houses of Congress, forcing lawmakers and their staffs to take cover and flee.

The violent death was the first at the Capitol since 1998 when a gunman forced his way through metal detectors and shot to death two Capitol police officers before he was wounded and taken into custody.

In 1954, according to a House history, four people associated with the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party opened fire from a gallery over the House floor, wounding five congressmen.

Three of the attackers were quickly subdued and a fourth was arrested later. President Jimmy Carter commuted their sentences in 1979.

At the press conference, Contee said many of those who played roles in Wednesday’s mayhem remained at large, but that investigators would be examining video. He asked the public “to be on the lookout for these individuals who breached the Capitol, and some of them, we think are very much have to be held accountable for some for the carnage.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.