The rioters weren’t just making a statement. They were out for blood and they were looking for Donald Trump’s enemies.
How the rioters who stormed the Capitol came dangerously close to Pence
Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnin, Paul Kane, and Emma Brown, reporting for The Washington Post.
The violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 came perilously close to Vice President Pence, who was not evacuated from the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex — enough time for the marauders to rush inside the building and approach his location, according to law enforcement officials and video footage from that day.
Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber.
About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate.
Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.
Pence was ultimately evacuated from his office off the Senate floor to a more secure location elsewhere in the Capitol complex. It is unclear exactly how long that took. But as the vice president made his way through the building, a growing number of rioters were joining their cohorts and coursing through the Capitol’s labyrinthine halls.
Once inside, they used pipes, flagpoles and other weapons to shatter windows and break furniture. One police officer later died of injuries sustained during the onslaught. Dozens of officers were wounded, including some who were struck with a fire extinguisher and another who was dragged down a set of steps and attacked by the crowd.
Many of those in the mob had their sights on Pence — enraged that he had refused President Trump’s demand that he head off the electoral college count that formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
According to the FBI, one man who was charged this week with trespassing and disorderly conduct after making his way into the Senate chamber said in a YouTube video: “Once we found out Pence turned on us and that they had stolen the election, like, officially, the crowd went crazy. I mean, it became a mob.”
At one point, a group of rioters began chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!” as they streamed into the main door on the east side of the Capitol.