Clicky

September 24, 2021

News West

West Coast News Network

Photos: ‘I recall thinking to myself, this is how I’m going to die’; Jan. 6 hearings begin

WASHINGTON —Four Capitol and Metropolitan Police Department officers on Tuesday recounted their experience fighting off the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol during the first hearing of a new House committee investigating the attack.

“I recall thinking to myself, this is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance,” Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said. “I could have lost my life that day, not once, but many times.”

Dressed in uniforms, the officers struggled at times to deliver the emotional testimony and graphic descriptions.

Officer Harry Dunn becomes emotional.

U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn becomes emotional in front of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, during its first hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(Chip Somodevilla / Pool Photo)

At one point during a video presentation, Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone placed his hand on Gonell’s shoulder and whispered in his ear. Others dabbed their eyes with tissues, cleared their throats repeatedly and paused to drink water throughout their testimony.

Gonell said he was more scared on Jan. 6 than he was during his Army tour of duty in Iraq. He said when he arrived home at 4 a.m. on Jan. 7, he could not even hug his wife because his uniform was so soaked in chemical irritants he had been sprayed with.

Less than four hours later he was back at work. He faces multiple surgeries from injuries to his shoulder, legs and feet, and at least a year of rehabilitation.

Officer Daniel Hodges testifies.

Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges testifies during Tuesday’s hearing about the Jan. 6 insurrection.

( Jim Bourg / Pool Photo)

Tuesday’s hearing, which was meant to set the tone for what is expected to be a months-long investigation, focused primarily on the officers and what they experienced fighting off the melee for several hours. Some Republicans, including former President Trump, have sought to downplay the event as a largely peaceful protest that got out of control.

Officer Michael Fanone testifies.

Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone testifies during Tuesday’s hearing.

(Andrew Harnik / Pool Photo)

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell reacts to testimony.

U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell reacts to testimony on Tuesday.

(Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Pool Photo)

Officers listen to testimony.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, far left, officer Michael Fanone, second from left, and officer Harry Dunn, far right, listen while officer Daniel Hodges testifies.

(Brendan Smialowski / Pool Photo)

A man reacts as he watches a video.

A man reacts as he watches a video from Jan. 6 during Tuesday’s hearing.

(Oliver Contreras / Pool Photo)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger becomes emotional.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) becomes emotional as he questions witnesses.

(Oliver Contreras / Pool Photo)

Officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges arrive.

Metropolitan Police officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges arrive to testify at the hearing.

( Andrew Harnik / Pool Photo)

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell pauses after opening statement.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell pauses after making his opening statement.

(Brendan Smialowski / Pool Photo)

Police officers leave after testifying.

Police officers leave after testifying at Tuesday’s hearing.

(Bill O’Leary / Pool Photo)

Officer Michael Fanone is embraced by officer Harry Dunn.

Officer Michael Fanone is embraced by officer Harry Dunn after the hearing.

(Jim Bourg / Pool Photo)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger embraces Sgt. Aquilino Gonell.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, right, embraces Sgt. Aquilino Gonell after the hearing.

( Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool Photo)

Officers talk with committee members.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell shakes hands with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) as officer Michael Fanone receives a hug from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

(Brendan Smialowski / Pool Photo)

Malcare WordPress Security