As thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators marched — with some breaking into the U.S. Capitol and storming the chambers — several politicians representing Frederick County were quickly placed on lockdown, finding secure locations to shelter in place during a hectic day in the nation's capital.
One of them was State Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll), chief of staff for Rep. Alex Mooney (R), who represents the second congressional district of West Virginia. As the demonstrators entered the Capitol, Hough and others were locked down in the Rayburn House Office Building, and monitored news updates for the rest of Mooney's staff.
"It’s very scary, and it’s completely awful that people would act that way and … I just hope no one gets hurt," Hough said of the situation, as he remained sheltered in place Wednesday. The Associated Press reported later Wednesday that a woman had been killed during the ordeal.
Hough, who has worked under Mooney for about four years, said he's seen nothing like Wednesday's events. There have been protests and similar precautions taken, but never a situation where armed demonstrators broke into the Capitol, he said. He believed the last time any similar event would have occurred was during the War of 1812.
Hough said he was against any use of violence to try to overturn the presidential election from last year.
"Absolutely, everybody should," Hough said when asked whether President Donald Trump should call on the demonstrators to stand down. Many people who are nonpolitical — police, custodial staff and other employees — commute to the U.S. Capitol complex and do not deserve to be endangered like they were Wednesday, he said.
Rep. David Trone (D), who represents the city of Frederick and much of southern Frederick County, said the House and Senate were in the process of certifying the U.S. election when demonstrators breached the first floor of the Capitol.
Speaking from a secure location, Trone said members were taken out a side door that police had secured after officers notified them demonstrators had reached the Rotunda outside the House chamber. They then used gas masks, which were placed under every other seat, Trone added.
The Capitol Police did a great job but were outmanned, Trone said. He criticized the "despicable" behavior of Trump and members of the Republican Party who fired up their base for the next presidential election, which he believes helped lead to Wednesday's proceedings.
"He's just simply a bad man," Trone said, calling for Trump to be impeached.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump held a rally near the Washington Monument, during which he told thousands of supporters the election had been stolen from him. Trump has consistently claimed without evidence the election was rigged and fraudulent.
Trump tweeted throughout the day, including calling on demonstrators at the Capitol to be "peaceful." He then posted a video stating he wanted the demonstrators to go home, adding: "We love you. You're very special." He continued to argue the election was stolen. That tweet and another were later removed by Twitter.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D), who represents the northern portion of Frederick County, told C-SPAN Wednesday he didn't know exactly when protesters breached the Capitol, but that he was in the House chamber with his son-in-law and one of his daughters when it occurred.
Raskin's 25-year-old son, Tommy, died at the end of December, and he hoped to show his son-in-law and daughter the "peaceful transfer of power in the United States government." But as protesters broke in, he immediately thought of their safety.
They were all in a secure location later Wednesday, but Raskin didn't mince words about what happened, sharing the same historical reference as Hough.
"This is an attack on the government of the United States," Raskin said on C-SPAN. "It did not even happen during the Civil War. I think you would have to go back to the War of 1812 to find this kind of attack on federal buildings."
Fred Propheter, president of the Frederick County Conservative Club, had led an effort to fill buses, with about 150 people, and transport them from the county to the nation's capital Wednesday.
The club has been traveling down in recent weeks to protest last November's election results. Propheter said they first heard President Trump give a speech around the Washington Monument earlier Wednesday. They then continued to march toward the U.S. Capitol before some protesters broke into the building.
Propheter said none of the Conservative Club members were close to the Capitol when it was stormed. He said they were waiting for buses to leave Washington D.C. around 3:30 p.m.
He agreed with Hough that Trump should call on demonstrators to stand down.
"I totally disagree with it, that’s not the way the system is supposed to work," he said about demonstrators breaking into the Capitol.
The National Guard was called to assist police at the Capitol, and other reinforcements were on the way, national media reported Wednesday.
The Frederick Police Department received a request from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which appealed to area law enforcement agencies that have training in civil disturbance crowd control, acting Capt. Kirk Henneberry said. FPD does not meet the criteria to respond, he said.
FPD has a working relationship with the Metropolitan Police Department, and some of its officers usually are called in for the presidential inauguration. They also work with Metro police when investigations call for inter-agency cooperation. In 2012, Metro police provided some crowd control training to the department, Henneberry said. They can call on one another for mutual aid, he added, but it's rare.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office did not receive any requests for police assistance in the Capitol as of Wednesday afternoon, spokesman Todd Wivell said.
Former Frederick Police Department Chief Kim Dine, who left that post in 2012 to head the U.S. Capitol Police, said that Wednesday's events were heartbreaking and shocking on every level. He retired from the Capitol Police in January 2016.
The Capitol Police officers have a "massive" responsibility of protecting the entire Capitol campus, which consists of many buildings beyond the Capitol itself.
"That's essentially why they exist," Dine said.
He defined the department's purpose during more than three years in charge as protecting the people, the place and the process that takes place there.
"That's their mission, to protect that facility from enemies — foreign and domestic," he said.
Staff writers Ryan Marshall and Mary Grace Keller contributed to this report.