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How a Capitol police officer's split-second decision may have saved lives during riot

The quick thinking of a Capitol Police officer diverted a violent mob from potentially storming the Senate chamber while it was being secured during last week's riot.
/ Source: TODAY

A Capitol Police officer is being lauded as a hero for his quick thinking in leading a violent mob away from the doors of the Senate chamber during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol.

A video recorded inside the Capitol by the Huffington Post's Igor Bobic during the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 shows a Capitol Police officer walking backward up the steps to the second floor of the building while trying to keep the rioters at bay.

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The officer then quickly looks to his left, toward the unguarded doors of the Senate chamber just a few feet away. They were in the process of being secured at the time with senators and Vice President Mike Pence inside.

The officer then shoves a man at the front of the mob wearing a QAnon shirt before backpedaling in the opposite direction from the Senate chamber, allowing the crowd to follow him.

Capitol Police have not named the officer, but time stamps and reporting show how dire the situation was in hindsight. The video of the moment was tweeted by Bobic at 2:16 p.m. EST, and the chamber was sealed at 2:15 p.m., according to a reporter inside the room.

The man in the front of the mob advancing toward the officer in the video appears to be Iowa resident Doug Jensen, 41, according to the Des Moines Register. Jensen was arrested on Saturday and booked into the Polk County Jail on five federal charges, according to The Associated Press.

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One of the officer's colleagues, Brian Sicknick, 42, died a day after the riot from injuries suffered while trying to protect the Capitol. Howard Liebengood, another Capitol Police officer who was part of the response, died off-duty on Saturday. Four others died in the stunning attack.

President Donald Trump has not commented on the deaths of the two officers or the scene of the officer diverting the mob. His initial comments online about the attack, including a video in which he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election and told supporters he loved them, were removed on Jan. 6 from Twitter and Facebook. Both platforms cited Trump for a violation of policies for inciting violence.

He released a video online a day later calling the riot at the Capitol a "heinous attack" and said he was "outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem."

First lady Melania Trump broke her silence about the attack with a statement on Monday in which she implored people "to stop the violence" and "rise above what divides us." She also sent her condolences to the families of Sicknick, Liebengood, and the four pro-Trump rioters who died.