Probes into deaths, explosives, and foreign agents are all underway.
January 9, 2021, 1:13 AM
• 8 min read
Federal agents and detectives from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department have launched a broad and multipronged investigation into the mayhem and death Wednesday at the United States Capitol, that sources tell ABC News includes an effort to determine the motives of a paramilitary faction of the mob that invaded the heart of American government.
“We’re talking about a very complex investigation,” said Robert Boyce, a 35-year veteran and former chief of detectives of the New York Police Department.
Investigators have begun the painstaking task of unwinding and documenting the events of Jan. 6, as thousands of pro-Trump rally-goers crossed the National Mall, overran Capitol Police metal barricades, and barged through the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol building. In the chaos, five people died, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.
That effort involves scanning volumes of social media posts, reviewing hours of security camera footage, and combing through mountains of cellphone data to determine exactly what occurred, investigators told ABC News.
Already, the Department of Justice has announced numerous arrests of intruders, including one who posted photos of himself seated at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
“The idiots who self-identify will be the first to go,” Boyce said.
A priority will be determining whether any protesters contributed or caused Sicknick’s death, sources involved in the investigation told ABC News. Authorities currently believe that his death was driven by a medical condition, but they are also vigorously examining reports that he was attacked with a fire extinguisher or other item at the Capitol. So far, those reports of an attack have not been confirmed, and authorities are hoping to locate video or other imagery from the scene that can shed light on what occurred.
In addition to determining how Sicknick died, investigators are also documenting the moments that lead up to the fatal police shooting of a 35-year-old San Diego woman named Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt. Video shows Babbitt was shot as she was trying to crawl through a broken glass window in a door to the Speaker’s Lobby.
Officials face an array of other challenges. Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms determined that bombs planted at the Democratic and Republican Party headquarters were genuine devices.
Bomb technicians blasted the devices with water cannons to essentially break them apart and render them harmless. Investigators are examining the recovered pieces to look for clues about how the devices was constructed and the sources of the components, sources said. They have also released a surveillance photo of a heavily cloaked man they believe planted the explosives.
“The devices were disabled and turned over to the FBI for further investigation and analysis,” Capitol Police said Thursday.
Another task will be to determine why footage shows some intruders roaming congressional corridors dressed in paramilitary gear,