A Capitol Police officer is on life support Thursday night after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol a day before, according to Capitol Police union chair Gus Papathanasiou.
CNN reported Thursday evening, citing three sources, that the officer had died. One of CNN’s sources said that Capitol Police officers were gathered and told that the officer had passed away.
Papathanasiou told WUSA – a local Washington, DC, television news station – that the officer died. Later Thursday, the Capitol Police released a statement stating no officers had died as a result of Wednesday’s riot.
Papathanasiou retracted his statement to WUSA and told CNN the officer was still on life support.
“He had a stroke. I think he’s on life support. We’ve got some misinformation on that. He’s on life support from what I’m hearing,” Papathanasiou told CNN.
One woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police as the crowd breached the building and three others suffered medical emergencies that proved fatal.
Shortly after 1 p.m. ET Wednesday hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers “traitors” for doing their jobs.
About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from the chamber, where he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.
An armed standoff took place at the House front door at about 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it.
As a result of the episode, US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is resigning. He said in a statement earlier Thursday that Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers were “actively attacked” with metal pipes and other weapons.
“They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage,” Sund said.
“The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.,” he added. “Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge.”
Still, lawmakers say they are perplexed at the lack of preparedness among law enforcement given that it had been known for weeks that Trump was promoting a rally he said was aimed at preventing the certification of Biden’s win.
Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat who was locked in the House chamber during an armed standoff between Capitol Police and a rioter, praised the officers who were in the building that put their lives on the line, but made clear that they were outnumbered and law enforcement was under prepared.
“The Capitol Police I was around did an amazing job under difficult circumstances,” Quigley told CNN. “My concern wasn’t with how valiant the Capitol Police were. It was that an hour before the debate started, I looked at the throngs of people surrounding different sections of the Capitol and said, we don’t have enough security.”
Quigley added: “I’m no expert in security, but you can tell we were out-manned in an hour before the debate,” referring to Congress’ proceedings to certify Biden’s win.
CORRECTION: This story and its headline have been corrected to reflect that the officer is on life support. This story is breaking and will be updated.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.