WASHINGTON — Just before noon on the day when Congress was convening to officially certify Joe Biden the next president of the United States, outgoing president Donald trump stepped on stage at the Ellipse to begin an hour-plus speech that all but marched his sea of supporters into the chaos that came next.
"You'll never take back our country with weakness," Trump proclaimed. "Demand that Congress do the right thing... fight like hell."
And fight they did.
WUSA9 spoke to a number of the rioters present Wednesday, who said they felt emboldened by President Trump's speech. Thus, on what should have been a calm and ceremonial day where Congress certified Electoral College votes, a mob of domestic terrorists launched an attack on the centerpiece of the legislative branch.
"I had no idea that the police line would be breached and that we would get inside the Capitol building," Steve Baker, who drove from Raleigh, North Carolina for planned protests, said. "We had the numbers to take it over if we wanted to."
The Capitol was placed on lockdown, police ordered evacuations, and the certification of Electoral College votes, which had just begun minutes before rioters broke in, was delayed.
It was around 2:00 p.m. when the gates on the east and west sides of the Capitol were breached. On the east side, there were about 10 U.S. Capitol Police officers that kept the chanting crowd at bay at the bottom of the steps. For four minutes, that's where they stayed, until they were joined by more U.S. Capitol Police officers, some in full riot gear.
WATCH: This is the moment rioters overtake police on the Capitol steps.
Two minutes later, the insurrectionists overtook the Capitol Police forcing them to turn around and retreat toward the doors of the Capitol. Seconds later, one insurgent stood at the top of the Capitol stairs waving a Trump flag. For them, it was a sign that they had seized control of the steps.
There were some U.S. Capitol Police officers near those stairs, but they stood aside, as pro-Trump rioters snapped selfies and continued to cheer.
Meanwhile, on the north and west sides near the Senate chamber, anarchists were using ropes to scale walls, objects to break windows and brute force to bust open doors to get into the Capitol.
"We tore through the scaffolding, through flash bangs and tear gas and blitzed our way in," Thomas Baranyi, who came from New Jersey, said.
Baranyi said that he entered the building on the side where scaffolding was erected for the upcoming Inauguration Day.
"The energy was incredible because people were screaming, chanting, 'This is our house! This is our house,'" Baker said. "There was some rowdiness. There were some people who weren't behaving as best we should."
After breaching the west side of the Capitol near the Senate Chamber and making his way south to the Rotunda, Baker casually admitted to entering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
"They had been turning tables and benches and chairs over," Baker said. "The actual first sign that you see going into, (the office) and they tore that off, broke it into little pieces for souvenirs."
One of the rioters propped his feet on top of Speaker Pelosi's desk...and left a menacing note saying, "We will not back down."
Then the mob continued their rampage through Statuary Hall towards the House chamber where members of Congress were huddled behind seats and under desks.
"Shots are being fired inside the Capitol chamber," Rep. Tom Souzzi (D-NY) recalls. "I checked to make sure that the doors were locked. I checked them. I started to leave the chamber and started to hear 'pop!, pop!, pop!'"
Representative Souzzi captured the chaos and confusion on his cell phone.
"I was just evacuated from the chambers," Souzzi said in his cell footage. "These are the people who have been detained. I saw dozens of Capitol Police with their guns drawn, trained on the door."
That's when Baranyi said he saw a rioter wearing a flag like a car get shot.
"A number of police and Secret Service was saying get back, get back, get out of the way, and she didn't heed the call," Baranyi said. "And, we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back. They shot her in the neck."
The woman who was fatally shot by U.S. Capitol Police was later identified as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt. Her husband said his wife was a 12-year veteran of the U.S Air Force.
"As soon as it happened, obviously, everybody was in a different mood," Baker said.
Baker said that most of the rioters near the location where Babbitt was shot decided to leave quickly.
"I was actually lead out by a young female cop," Baker said. "And, she said, 'I'm going to keep you safe, but you're coming out with me.'"
After walking down the stairs to the ground floor, Baker said that cop escorted him to the far south side of the Capitol building, around 3:00 p.m., through the same doors used to evacuate Babbitt.
"There's a whole trail of blood on the pavement," Baker said.
While most of the insurgents on the east side of the Capitol were oblivious to the blood that had been shed. They continued their rally to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden.
Several hours after the riots began, President Trump tweeted a video calling for peace and telling his supporters to go home. But only after reiterating his unfounded claims of election fraud and calling the insurgents "very special" people.
It would be nearly three hours after the gates were breached before vans of MPD officers arrived on the south side of the U.S. Capitol. With larger forces, police were finally able to begin clearing the complex.
Finally, at 8 p.m., Capitol Police declared the building secure.