SoCal Congresswoman Norma Torres gives harrowing first-hand account of Capitol siege

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As a pro-Donald Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday, members of Congress were forced into hiding as the rioters breached the congressional chambers and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College win.

Among the congressional leaders forced to scramble to safety was Rep. Norma Torres, who represents part of the Inland Empire.

Speaking with Eyewitness News, Torres provided a harrowing account of the evacuation as lawmakers ducked and covered for their lives during the mob violence.

"The balcony was one of the scariest places to be, not just because I was there, but really because there was nowhere for us to go," Torres said.

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She said she was told to "hit the floor, get on the ground" and a police officer helped her put on a gas mask. At one point, she had to crawl to safety.

Rep. Judy Chu, who represents a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley, also spoke to Eyewitness News Wednesday about the breach while she was sheltering in place.

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"I was watching the television coverage, and I could not believe my eyes," Chu said. "I could not believe that this sacred place which I thought had been so heavily guarded by Capitol police could have been invaded like this so quickly with so many people overtaking it, that so many things could have been destroyed... It was indeed very frightening."

The rampage that shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a "terrorist attack."

It is prompting a broader reckoning over Trump's tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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