Woman dies after shooting during pro-Trump occupation of US Capitol

Watch ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore's report from inside the US Capitol as protesters stormed the building

A woman who was shot inside the US Capitol during violent pro-Trump protests has died, officials have told the Associated Press.

The protests - which were encouraged by President Donald Trump and turned violent - have been roundly condemned and led to the First Lady's chief of staff resigning.

The Republican National Committee described the extraordinary events as "domestic terrorism" and said the represent "an attack on our country and its founding principles.”

Lawmakers to be evacuated, which delayed the constitutional process to affirm President-elect’s Joe Biden's victory in the November election, after mobs stormed the US Congress on Wednesday.

The chaotic scenes culminated in a fatal shooting.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the investigation but did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.

Trump supporters breach Capitol security and enter building

The police chief of Washington, DC said pro-Trump protesters deployed "chemical irritants" on police in order to breach the security perimeter and stormed the building.

More than a thousand National Guard troops were deployed to disperse the crowds and after a four-hour standoff, the site was declared secure by 6pm (local time).

Protesters, who were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside, were described as "special people" by President Donald Trump, who responded to calls to condemn the violence.

In a video address shared on Twitter, he urged his supporters to "go home" but repeated an unsubstantiated claim that the election was "stolen".

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports on an extraordinary day of unrest in DC:

He said: "I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election and everyone knows it especially the other side.

"But you have to go home now, we have to have peace, we have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt."

He described it as a "tough period of time", and repeated false claims that the November's election was "fraudulent".

He ended the video message by calling the protesters "very special", adding: "We can’t play into the hands of these people.

"We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special."

Twitter disabled the video from being liked or retweeted "due to a risk of violence". It was later deleted.

Police try to hold back protesters outside the east doors to the House side of the U.S. Capitol. Credit: AP

Trump shared his video address minutes after President-elect Joe Biden described the violent protests as "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business."

Biden demanded Trump immediately make a televised address calling on his supporters to cease the violence.

"The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is," Biden said. "At best the worlds of a president can inspire, at the worst, they can incite."

He added: "Therefore I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege."

Biden added: "Let me be very clear, the scenes of the Capitol do not represent a true America, do not represent who we are.

"What we are seeing is a small number of extremists."

Former President Barack Obama added his condemnation, saying history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonor and shame for the nation.

Photographs from inside showing politicians ducking for cover while police guard windows to the room with guns drawn.

The Senate resumed debating the Republican challenge against Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory more than six hours after the interruption.

The Republican National Committee said it strongly condemned the violence at the Capitol, adding that the violent scenes “do not represent acts of patriotism, but an attack on our country and its founding principles.”

The group’s communications director, Michael Ahrens, said: “What happened today was domestic terrorism.”

Stephanie Grisham, the current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned in the wake of the violent protests.

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned following violent protests at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Grisham was one of Trump’s longest serving aides, having joined the campaign in 2015. She served as the White House press secretary and never held a press briefing.

Lawmakers and politicians in the chamber were evacuated as rioters stormed the room. Credit: AP

At least one explosive device was found near the Capitol amid which law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat Wednesday afternoon.

Police Chief Robert Contee said officials had declared the scene a riot and confirmed one civilian was shot inside the Capitol and several police officers were injured.

Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.

President Trump had encouraged his supporters to protest in Washington DC ahead of the confirmation of Joe Biden's election win.

He urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people” and saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”

President Trump encouraged his supporters to protest during a speech in Washington DC.

He has embraced wild conspiracy theories about election fraud and demanding that November's already-certified election results are overturned.

Telling his supporters in Washington DC that he will "never concede" the election, he called on his Vice President Mike Pence to "do the right thing" and overturn Biden's victory.

"All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people," Trump said.

However, Pence released a statement saying he "does not have the power to discard electoral votes" in what would be a ceremonial role.

Mr Pence has gone further than President Trump by condemning the protests, warning on Twitter that they will be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

"The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now," he said. "Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building."

In a second Tweet, the Vice President said: "Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Rioters in the Chamber got up on the dais and yelled "Trump won that election" while several dozen others continue to roaming the halls of the building yelling: "Where are they?".

The mayor of Washington DC ordered a curfew in the capital from at 6pm (local time) in a bid to control the riots.

Approximately 20 minutes before the curfew, police used tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing pro-Trump protesters from the grounds.

The US Capitol complex was declared "secure" just before 6pm after after heavily armed police moved to end the nearly four-hour violent occupation.

Mayor Bowser said the behaviour of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all... unlawful.”

She added: "There will be law and order and this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Members of Congress inside the chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed to try and push back rioters.

Credit: AP

Law enforcement instructed lawmakers to retrieve masks from under their seats amid the clashes, before lawmakers and senators were evacuated.

One congresswoman reported "sounds like multiple gunshots" and said she had been evacuated from her office after reports of a pipe bomb.

British politicians have reacted to the chaotic scenes unfolding. The prime minister condemned the "disgraceful scenes".

Boris Johnson tweeted: "The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote on Twitter: "Horrendous scenes from the US. These are not ‘protestors’ - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the scenes as "utterly horrifying," adding: "Solidarity with those in (the United States) on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy."

Watch ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore's live report from DC:

Trump was earlier defied by his vice-President who said he cannot reject the vote that confirmed Joe Biden's win.

Trump had called on Mike Pence to overturn the will of US voters by refusing to confirming Biden's win in Congress - something he has no authority to do.

Joe Biden won the electoral college vote by 306 to 232.

Addressing the crowds, Trump described the election as a "theft" - despite there being no evidence of any voter fraud.

President Trump falsely repeated his call to VP Pence to overturn the will of the voters and tip the results in the president’s favour.

He claimed VP Pence "has the power to do this" - but Pence's role is largely ceremonial in presiding over the certification of the electoral college vote count in front of a joint session of Congress.

Crowds gathered near the White House, despite the Covid pandemic. Credit: AP

"Mike Pence, I hope you're gonna stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country," he said.

But VP Pence issued a statement shortly before his ceremonial duty in Congress saying he could not claim "unilateral authority" to reject electoral votes.

"My oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Pence said.

The president responded with a tweet later on writing: "Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution".

There has been no evidence of any voter fraud in the election, despite Trump's claims.

Addressing his supporters, President Trump encouraged the crowd to march towards the Capitol building and "make your voice heard".

Trump supporter Scott Matheny says his loyalty is unshaken:

Police had already reported 10 protest-related arrests on Tuesday and Wednesday for a variety of offences - including weapons charges, assault on a police officer, simple assault, possessing a stun gun and other violations.

Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battleground states and Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have said there was no widespread fraud in the election.

Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges rejected by the Supreme Court.

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