A congressional aide who was in the U.S. Capitol when a mob breached the building last week has said that panic buttons had been ripped out of her office ahead of the attack.
According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts Representative Ayana Pressley’s Chief of Staff, Sarah Groh, said that she had initially planned to stay with Presley at the congresswoman’s residence until late afternoon on January 6, due to possible threats against Pressley. But the staffer followed the direction of House sergeant-at-arms who had urged members of Congress to arrive earlier, citing concerns that it would become increasingly difficult to safely escort them in to the building, where they were set to vote on certifying the results of the November Presidential election.
“I was deeply concerned,” Groh told the newspaper. “It felt like the heat was being turned up in terms of the rhetoric and Trump’s aims to incite violence.”
As the crowd began to storm the Capitol building, lawmakers evacuated the House floor, some going to undisclosed, secure locations and others barricading themselves in offices.
That’s where Groh noticed that one emergency safety feature was no longer available.
“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” Groh said, adding that she had used them before in the same office, but it is not known when they were last activated.
It remains unclear why the panic buttons had been removed, or who removed them.
On Tuesday night, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram live video that she feared for her life last Wednesday.
“I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die … I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that she could not reveal further details for security reasons.
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
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[Feature image: Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. For America’s allies and rivals alike, the chaos unfolding during Donald Trump’s final days as president is the logical result of four years of global instability brought on by the man who promised to change the way the world viewed the United States. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)]