WASHINGTON (CN) — The Department of Justice brought illegal-entry charges Friday against a West Virginia state lawmaker who broke into the U.S. Capitol this week during a chaotic and violent attack.
Derrick Evans, a Republican delegate who was sworn in last month to serve West Virginia’s state government, recorded himself wearing a helmet in a mob that stormed the Capitol building.
“We’re in! Keep it moving baby!” Evans could be heard saying in the video recorded Jan. 6. Evans was also seen on video walking inside of the Capitol and could be heard telling people not to vandalize.
The siege that left five dead followed a fiery speech by President Donald Trump, members of his family and personal attorney Rudy Giluliani — with the latter calling for a “trial by combat” — over the 2020 election results.
Apart from video that shows police shooting Ashli Babbit in the Capitol building, few details are available the other three rioters killed on Wednesday.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered flags be flown at half-mast on Friday after the announcement of the death of U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, who was reportedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher during the fracas by a supporter of the president.
Sicknick’s death is now being investigated as a possible homicide.
Evans deleted the clip of his Capitol building incursion not long after posting it to social media, but an uproar followed online as members of the West Virginia Democratic Party started calling for his resignation.
In another video he posted Wednesday to Facebook, Evans said he often travels to different parts of the country to film a variety of events.
“Today, I had the opportunity to film another event in D.C. I want to assure you all that I did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement nor did I participate in any destruction that may have occurred,” he said.
Evans was released on a personal recognizance bond Friday afternoon.
While Evans appears so far to be the only elected official seen participating in the insurrection inside of the Capitol, criticism is also mounting against state lawmakers from the around the country who either attended the preceding rally “Stop the Steal” or urged constituents to travel to Washington and contest the House and Senate’s counting of electoral votes awarded to President-elect Joe Biden.
Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano, a Republican and former military colonel, was spotted attending the rally in photos posted online. In one still, he is pictured with former Pennsylvania state Representative Rick Saccone, another Republican.
Saccone insisted on Facebook Wednesday evening he was peaceful, despite having announced on Twitter hours earlier: “We are storming the capitol. Our vanguard has broken thru the barricades. We will save this nation. Are u with me?”
For his part, Mastriano has since said he only helped organize a bus to Washington for demonstrators. By nightfall Wednesday, Mastriano called the attack “shameful and completely unacceptable.”
Another state lawmaker, Tennessee House Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, was “in the thick of it,” she told The Tennessean in a phone interview Thursday. She tweeted hours after the attacks had already started on Wednesday: “Epic and historic day gathering with fellow patriots form all over the nation DC. #wearearepublic”
Others like Arizona state Representative Mark Finchem also shared images online, appearing to support the president’s rally.
“What happens when the People feel they have been ignored and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud,” Finchem wrote above a picture showing dozens of people wielding Trump banners and American flags crowded the Capitol roughly 30 minutes after the first breach inside.
The FBI is continuing to investigate in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. At least 68 people have been arrested.
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