VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Speaking about the riots seen in the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he hopes President Donald Trump will call off his supporters before the violence spreads to other parts of the country.
Chitwood said Capitol police showed great restraint by not opening fire when mobs breached the Capitol building and entered the House chamber.
“They’re smashing through the doors to get into Congress, who knows what they’re going to do? You saw some of these images, you have masked men with backpacks or and camouflage carry baseball bats. They’re not going in there to practice batting swings. They’re going in there to create harm and yet (officers) didn’t use deadly force, they used restraint,” Chitwood said. “So far, realizing we are the United States of America, the last thing we need to do is open fire on these protesters.”
He said police in the Capitol have been doing a great job but their work is far from over.
“There’s a battle there between excessive force and the appropriate use of force, and what technology do you need to regain control of the Capitol and then once you do, you have to identify the perpetrators that committed crimes there and make sure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Chitwood said.
The Capitol was deemed secure around 6 p.m. Wednesday.
He called on Trump to step up and intervene before the situation escalates any further.
Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
“You stirred the hornet’s nest. You invited all these people to come to Washington, D.C., you riled them up and you told them to march in the Capitol. I’m sure that you didn’t anticipate that inside of that crowd would be a bunch of thugs that would want to take over the Capitol building. The only person that you’re going to listen to, Mr. President, is you. Show some leadership, get on TV or better yet, go down there and call this un-American act off. People are going to get hurt. People are going to get killed.”
A woman who was shot Wednesday in the Capitol died from her injuries but little is known about why she was in D.C. and what led to the gunfire.
Chitwood said even if the president denounces the acts of his supporters, who, like him, incorrectly claim that he won the election over President-elect Joe Biden, he fears this won’t be the last of the riots.
“This isn’t going to end when they leave tonight because I can guarantee you there’s going to be counter groups that are waiting for the cover of darkness that are either going to join with the protesters, or they’re going to fight with the protesters and turn on the cops. It’s going to be a long, long night in Washington D.C., and I hope this doesn’t spread to the rest of the country but the president needs to step up and be the president for God’s sake,” Chitwood said.