In The News
Detroit News: Inside House chamber: Gas masks, barricades, an 'I love you' text
Washington, January 9, 2021
From inside the U.S. House chamber, a loud banging rang out from the locked doors.
Police officers at the main entrance pulled their batons from their belts and wedged their boots against the bottom of the central doors. That's when U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga knew trouble had arrived.
The Holland Republican was sitting in the back row of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon when law enforcement officers and lawmakers started lugging a wooden desk and other furniture from the corners of the room to barricade the central doors.
Angry protesters had breached the building while Congress was debating the certification of the presidential election, and the mob was literally at the doors.
I was covering the proceedings from the press gallery with other journalists when staff started handing gas masks down the rows. Lawmakers below were still fumbling to open the packages containing their own masks when officers started shouting for them to evacuate.
Huizenga said he helped an officer to carry a bench to wedge against the entryway.
"We picked it up, and it started getting really chaotic, with people yelling," he said.
A loud bang echoed across the room.
"I knew it wasn't a handgun at that point, and one of my other military colleagues thought it was either tear gas or a flashbang," Huizenga said. "Then something hit the windows of the doors, and they said, 'Shots fired! Shots fired! Get down on the ground!'"
Huizenga dropped the bench. The officer he was working with told him to get off of the floor immediately and evacuate with the rest of the members.
"I was frustrated. This is not what we're about. This is not who we are as a country. Quite honestly, I was pissed," Huizenga said later.
Read the rest of the story at DetroitNews.com