Local congressman who at the Capitol says ‘I’ll never forget January 6’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As the mob surrounded, attacked and poured into the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, Rochester Congressman Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) was locked up by himself in a safe room inside one of the congressional office buildings.
Morelle was in his office in the Longworth Office Building. The Capitol is just to the north and Morelle could see it from his window.
"And then once the breach of the Capitol began we were put into secure locations around the Capitol complex," Morelle said.
Morelle says he called his staff and family and at 2:49 p.m., he tweeted "I am safe and sheltering in place while the Capitol is on lockdown."
He sheltered for 15 hours and most of the time he was alone.
"I’ll never forget January 6," Congressman Tom Reed (R, NY-23) said.
Reed, whose district includes Ontario County, had just finished a speech on the House floor and was walking outside the Capitol.
"I heard shotgun blasts but they ended up being the pepper ball devices the Capitol police were using to try to disperse the crowd," Reed said. "And then I had to scramble to get back into the offices."
By then the Longworth Office Building doors were locked. Reed says he had to hustle to the back door and eventually got in and went to his office.
"And I sat there with tears in my eyes as I watched it on TV like many other Americans," he said.
Late on the night of the 6th, when the Capitol was cleared, Reed made another speech that drew a standing ovation.
"What I saw today was mob rule that spat upon the blood of my father," he said that night. Reed went on to say he is proudly conservative but looking towards the democratic side of the House he said "I will stand with you tonight and send a message to the nation and all Americans that what we saw today was not American."
"We have the opportunity to inspire our fellow Americans that are the silent majority that will stand up to the extremism and say that is not acceptable," he said in an interview from his office in Jamestown Thursday.
"I’m actually more concerned today even than I was a year ago that this foundational part of American democracy which is the right to elect our leaders is very much in jeopardy," Morelle said. "So I’m more worried today than I was a year ago about it."
Congressman John Katko (R, NY-24) issued the following statement:
“Today marks one year from the insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The nation watched in shock and horror as the safety of our staff, law enforcement, and my fellow Members of Congress was threatened. Leading up to and on January 6, we saw troubling breakdowns in information sharing and emergency preparedness—core tenets of homeland security. Our heroic Capitol Police officers, along with DC Metropolitan Police officers, risked their lives to defend the U.S. Capitol and those who work here. As a result, many officers still bear the physical and emotional scars of that traumatic day and several officers were severely injured. Tragically, lives were also lost because of this violence and four officers have devastatingly taken their lives since. We mourn with the families and friends of these patriotic officers.
“The violence on January 6 was shameful and completely unacceptable. The rioters who broke the law must continue being held accountable for their actions. We are a country of laws, and we must denounce all violence while recommitting ourselves to civil discourse. As a symbol of our Republic, we must never allow the U.S. Capitol to be compromised again.”
There is no official count of how many people from our area were in the crowd at and inside the Capitol.
More than 700 people were charged.