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After Chaos, Insurrection And Death, Pro-Trump Rioters Defy D.C. Curfew

Hours after hordes of pro-Trump extremists barged across what proved to be feeble and poorly guarded barricades, and at least one person was fatally shot, the general atmosphere on the streets outside the Capitol appears to be relatively quiet even as Congress is on its way to finishing what it started early Wednesday afternoon.

Police chief Robert Contee said three other fatalities — on adult female and two males — resulted from apparent "separate medical emergencies."

House and Senate members pledged to continue proceedings to tally President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory and later certified those results early Thursday.

Vice President Pence, "who never left the Capitol," also returned to the Senate, to oversee the count.

Still, two hours after Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a citywide 6 p.m. curfew, hundreds of pro-Trump rioters milled about the grounds of the Capitol they'd stormed, but they faced no imminent threat of arrest, though they were largely outnumbered by local, regional and federal law enforcement, NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

Among those who remained unmolested by law enforcement were Adriel Leddy and his wife, Kristina, a couple from California who arrived in town at 3 p.m., prompted by President Trump's pleas and false claims over the last couple of months that the presidential election was stolen.

"We just wanted to see history and support the president and the patriots," he explained.

Leddy, who wore a jacket bearing Trump's face on the front and back, which he stenciled himself, listed his grievances with the current state of affairs — many of which echo some of the disturbing conspiracy theories peddled by the president: He believes the election was rigged. (It was not.) He alleges the COVID-19 pandemic was deliberately brought to the U.S. as an attack by China. And, he added, baselessly, the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon were not Trump supporters but members of antifa. There is no evidence of that.

"I've seen antifa infiltration. The people who walked inside and stormed the Capitol today, the tattoos they had on their hands were antifa. The news media will twist it that that's Trump people," he claimed.

Domonoske reports there is little presence of National Guard troops, who were only deployed to the city hours into the attempted takeover of the Capitol by rioters. It is a stark contrast to the federal response to the Black Lives Matter protests — which were largely peaceful — over the summer.

Despite the mobs of people who have been recorded looting and vandalizing the nation's capital, as of about 5:15 p.m. ET Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said a total of 13 individuals had been arrested.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.