(NY DAILY) – Throngs of far-right Trump supporters, some armed, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a violent effort to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election, forcing lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to evacuate as gunfire reportedly rang out inside the halls of Congress.
The deeply unsettling scene unfolded after President Trump, still refusing to admit that he lost the 2020 election, told supporters at a massive rally that they should “never give up” and “fight harder” to overturn Biden’s victory.
“We will never concede,” Trump shouted to roars from the crowd gathered in the ellipse park in front of the White House.
After Trump’s incendiary speech, thousands of Trump supporters marched to the U.S. Capitol. Dozens of them, some touting guns and confederate battle flags, managed to breach the security perimeter and enter the Capitol.
Photos posted to social media from reporters showed some Trump supporters managed to break into the Senate and House chamber. One aggressor took the seat of the Senate presiding officer and yelled into the microphone, “Trump won that election,” according to reporters on the scene.
Capitol Police officers were seen drawing guns, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said shots were fired.
“This is unacceptable,” McCarthy, who has supported Trump’s unfounded attempt to overturn Biden’s election, said on Fox News. “People are being hurt. This is unacceptable.”
Police did not immediately report injuries, though TV crews outside the Capitol captured emergency personnel carrying out a woman on a stretcher who appeared to be bleeding from her neck.
As chaos raged in the halls of Congress, lawmakers and Pence were evacuated to safe, undisclosed locations by Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers.
Before Pence was abruptly shuttled out of the chamber by Secret Service agents, he had informed Congress that he would not attempt to single-handedly throw out electoral votes certified for Biden, indirectly rebuffing Trump’s demand that he do so.
As his supporters stormed the building, Trump started attacking his vice president over Twitter.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” he tweeted. “USA demands the truth!”