Photographer inside Capitol Hill tells LBC 'I've never seen anything like this before'

6 January 2021, 22:40 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 09:51

By Maddie Goodfellow

A photo journalist who was inside Capitol Hill when protestors stormed the building told Tom Swarbrick he has 'never seen anything like this before'.

Photo journalist Andrew Harnik was inside the building when guns were raised as protestors attempted to smash through a door into the room where senators were holding a session to certify the Electoral College votes.

Supporters of President Trump clashed with police and stormed the building in Washington as a joint session of Congress moves to certify electoral college results.

One person has been shot during skirmishes between police and Trump supporters, police have confirmed.

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Tom Swarbrick spoke with the photographer who took the shocking photo inside Capitol hill tonight
Tom Swarbrick spoke with the photographer who took the shocking photo inside Capitol hill tonight. Picture: PA

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC, Mr Harnik said: "I was a floor above looking down and I heard smashing glass and something very loud went off and I could see smoke rising just below.

"I took some pictures there and then went down the stairs and by the time I got down there people had actually breached some security to the Capitol.

"There were very heavily armed police officers at the door with the mob just pushed against them. I could see at the window a man gestured for me to open the door to him.

Tom then asked him whether the armed police were using weapons against protestors, and how tense the situation was.

Mr Harnik replied: "There were serious guns and equipment and riot gear, but they were to protect police."

Tom then asked him how he felt, and whether it seemed like police could deal with the situation.

"Well my job is to report on what is happening, so I wasn't going anywhere unless instructed to do so. But it did seem tense, there was heavy chatter and commotion outside.

"As I was taking pictures a police officer came up to me and said that the building had been put on lockdown and grabbed me by the coat and yanked me saying 'get out of here'.

"By the time I got back to where I was before the doors were all locked and there was no one there. We were then escorted to the gallery of the House chamber."

Asked if he saw or heard shots fired, Mr Harnik said: "I heard a loud noise and glass was broken through but I don't know if it was shots fired, I couldn't be certain."

He continued: "We were told to have gas masks on and ready and police officers could be seen on the house floor telling members to put on gas masks.

"All the House members were then told to evacuate and security barricaded the door. We could hear people trying to break down the door and glass started breaking.

"Security then began having a shouting match with protestors who had gotten in and guns were raised."

Asked if he felt like the situation was ever going to get out of hand, the photographer replied: "I've worked here for over 20 years in DC, I've done this for a long time, and I've never seen anything like this before."