‘This is How I’m Going to Die’: Capitol Police Officer Fights Tears Recalling Family ‘Frantically’ Calling Him During Capitol Riot
U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell fought back tears as he described the harrowing violence that occurred during the Jan. 6 riot before a House select committee investigating the attack.
Gonell began his testimony by calling for accountability in the “horrific and shameful” attack, decrying “the continued, shocking attempt to ignore or try and destroy the truth of what happened that day.”
The officer, an army veteran who served in the Iraq War, said the rioters called him a “traitor” and “a disgrace” who “should be executed.”
“My fellows officers and I were punched, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob,” Gonell said.
Gonell said the rioters, supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol in protest of the 2020 election, threatened to shoot police as well as U.S. politicians.
“I heard specific threats to the lives of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then also Vice President Mike Pence,” he said.
Gonell said rioters used hammers, knives, batons stolen from officers and even American flags in their clash with police.
“I was particularly shocked at seeing the insurrectionists violently attack us with the very American flag that they claimed to protect,” he said.
“What we were subjected that day was like something from a medieval battle. We fought hand-to-hand, inch by inch to prevent an invasion of the capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting our democratic process,” Gonell said, before describing how he thought he might die as he was crushed by the mob.
“I was being crushed by the rioters. I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself this is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance.”
Gonell began to choke up as he describe his wife and family “frantically calling and texting me” as “they were watching the turmoil on television.”
The officer said that despite his wounds, he continued to work for 15 straight days after the attack. He had to have surgery on his foot and now requires surgery on his shoulder, and has been on medical leave for six months.
“I made sure to work despite my injuries because I wanted to continue doing my job, securing the Capitol complex,” he said. “More than six months later, I’m still trying to recover from my injuries.”
“There are some who express outrage when someone kneels while calling for social justice. Where are those same people expressing the outrage to condemn the violent attack on law enforcement, the Capitol and our American democracy? I’m still waiting for them,” Gonell said.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
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