Pa. man arrested during Capitol insurrection unrepentant: ‘The doors were open.’

Supporters of President Donald Trump stand inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Supporters of President Donald Trump stand inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A Lebanon County supporter of President Donald Trump was one of the few insurrectionists arrested Wednesday for storming the nation’s capital in an attempt to halt the certification of the 2020 election results. 

Terry Brown, a 69-year-old retired public safety code enforcement officer, is one of just 14 people arrested inside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, and the only one from Pennsylvania. Police officers arrested 70 people elsewhere in Washington D.C. between Wednesday night and early Thursday.

Brown left his Myerstown home early Wednesday morning, arriving in the capital around 7:30 a.m. to join thousands of other Trump supporters in what turned into a violent siege that left at least four people dead, including a Pennsylvanian from Bloomsburg.

In an interview with Keystone Crossroads, Brown repeated baseless falsehoods about voter fraud and malfeasance spread by the president and his allies.

“Nobody was listening to us,” Brown said. “Nobody.”

Brown said he and thousands of others began marching toward the Capitol building after Trump’s mid-day speech, where the president urged supporters to “try and give our Republicans … the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

By the time he got to the Capitol, Brown said, others had already breached the gates.

“We went in … and everyone started following and pushing,” Brown said. “When they start pushing like that it is very hard to turn around and go the opposite way.”

Pressed on whether he should have acted differently, Brown was unrepentant: “Well, the doors were open.”

Brown said there were a number of police officers watching the mob enter, but “they weren’t making any attempt to stop anybody.” The Capitol Police, who are in charge of law enforcement at the Capitol, are facing scathing criticism for their failure to block the insurrectionists. 

Many people across the nation watched in outrage as the insurrectionists appeared to face fewer repercussions compared to the show of police force matched against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in cities across the country last summer.

On Wednesday, once inside the Capitol, the mob quickly began committing vandalism and theft. Around 2:30 p.m., Brown said he was arrested inside by a police officer. He spent the next four hours on the floor in handcuffs, before being booked and sent to a Washington D.C. jail.

Brown is currently charged with “unlawful entry,” which in D.C. is punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. He has a June court date.

The Lebanon County man said he was troubled by the death of Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who ascribed to the QAnon conspiracy theory who was fatally shot by Capitol Police during the siege.

However, Brown said he did not regret taking part in the storming of the Capitol, an attack that’s been described as a failed coup attempt. President-elect Joe Biden condemned the act as domestic terrorism “bordering on sedition.”

“I came to the conclusion that we needed to be heard, and nobody was listening,” Brown said. “So if this is what it took … to make the people stand up and listen, then to me it was worth it.”

After Brown and other insurrectionists were cleared from the Capitol, Congress reconvened and certified Biden’s Electoral College victory with fewer objections than anticipated before the violence.

Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement leaders say they plan to prosecute anyone from the commonwealth who was involved in the attack.

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