Colorado Members Of Congress Inside Capitol As Pro-Trump Extremists Storm The Building

January 6, 2021
APTOPIX Congress Electoral CollegeAPTOPIX Congress Electoral CollegeAndrew Harnik/AP
Rep. Jason Crow and other members of Congress shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

What We Know

Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in a chaotic attempt to thwart a peaceful transfer of power. The mob forced lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupted challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Colorado's House delegation was in the chamber when it was locked down. "I was trapped in the House Chamber with a few members for a little while as protestors tried to ram down the doors," Democratic Rep. Jason Crow tweeted. "We didn’t know how we were gonna get out, but Capitol Police were able to clear a route and get us out. We’re all now being protected in a secure location."

Colorado's Republican and Democratic parties confirmed Wednesday afternoon that all of their congress members are safe and accounted for.

Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who was was also in the chamber, tweeted "Every American has the right to peacefully protest. But storming the U.S. Capitol and attacking the brave men and women of the Capitol police force is wrong. This is not who we are."

CPR's D.C. reporter, Caitlyn Kim, who was in the building when it was breached, reports, "you can hear chanting: 'USA! USA!' You can hear them banging on doors and banging on windows as they make their way through the building. And there was a security warning going off asking all employees, all workers in the building to lock down, stay where they are."

As Kim was evacuated from the Capitol several hours later, she said she could smell smoke from smoke bombs used in the building and saw dozens of Capitol police, and as well as FBI agents in riot and tactical gear.

Colorado's representatives were in the chambers to debate a challenge to the Electoral College votes from Arizona.

Joe Wertz/CPR News
Pro-Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Before the protesters broke in, Boebert spoke in opposition to accepting the state's votes, arguing that late-stage changes to the state's election laws were unconstitutional. She was followed by Boulder Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse, who said today's events will determine the survival of American democracy.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Republican Rep. Ken Buck issued a joint statement on Wednesday evening calling the riot "alarming"

"In America, we hold free, fair, and secure elections and we honor the outcome," the statement read. "We must step up to protect the institutions of our republic, free and fair elections, and the rule of law."

Colorado Republicans were quick to condemn the attack on the Capitol. The Trump Campaign's state director tweeted out, "This isn't what I ever imagined when I signed to #MAGA."

"This should disturb any Coloradan who holds even an ounce of respect for our democratic republic and the Constitution," said the press secretary for Colorado's Senate Republicans, Sage Naumann, in a statement. "In our nation, our disputes are settled via elections, debate, and discourse. To breach the United States Capitol because you are not happy with the outcome of an election is anarchic, un-American, and certainly the furthest from anything that could be considered 'patriotic.' Today, I pray for the safety of those working in the Capitol, especially our law enforcement officers, and I pray for the Republic."

However, some of the president's supporters view the storming of the Capitol very differently.

"Honestly, I’m happy about it. It’s about time somebody did it, because those scum up there are just total criminals,” said Gabriel King in Colorado Springs. "They’re not accountable to anybody. They lie about everything and they are just criminal trash.”

King installs flooring in Colorado. He said he thinks there was election fraud across the United States during the November election and that the media is covering it up because they prefer President-elect Joe Biden.

In Denver, hundreds of pro-Trump protesters have gathered at the state Capitol. The crowd includes men in military fatigues with shields and helmets and a group of men wearing logos of the far-right group the Proud Boys.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A rally in support of President Donald Trump in front of the Colorado State Capitol. Jan 6, 2021.

So far, that demonstration has remained largely peaceful. However, the legislature's Joint Budget Committee, which was meeting nearby adjourned its work early.

Some watching the handling of extremists in the U.S. Capitol questioned police tactics, noting that Black Lives Matter protesters were met with tear gas and rubber bullets during street protests that did not threaten federal buildings.

"Of course, it's a double standard," said Apryl Alexander, a Black Lives Matter 5280 organizer and associate professor at the University of Denver. "When people are protesting for civil rights and protesting against racial injustice, they are met with force. And we witnessed that wasn't happening today when people are actually attacking the Capitol and attacking key figures in that Capitol. This would have never happened if it were a group of Black people, or a group of marginalized folks, doing the same thing."

Former U.S. Senate candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding, who teaches at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and is also interim associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion at the school, got emotional in a video she posted on Facebook.

"Black justice workers are not OK," she said, fighting back tears, talking about what it's like to watch the events at the U.S. Capitol unfold. "We are not OK because we recognize, and we know, that we would be dead right now in this moment. And so for every person who is out here still trying to have a conversation or debate about whether or not white supremacy is [expletive] real, it's real. And you are seeing how white privilege plays out."

The protests in D.C. started on Tuesday. The Washington Post reports a Coloradan was among ten people arrested. Forty-eight-year-old Harlan Boen was arrested near the building that houses the offices of the district's mayor and charged with illegal possession of a firearm and unregistered ammunition, in violation of D.C.'s strict gun laws.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.