Capitol officer recounts Jan. 6 ‘war scene’ in her testimony

Jun 10, 2022, 5:39 AM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:54 pm
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured by ...
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters storming the Capitol grounds on January 6, testifies during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 09, 2022 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards described to lawmakers Thursday night what she could only describe as the “war scene” that she and other officers faced when rioters began viciously attacking them on Jan. 6, 2021.

“It was something like I’ve seen in movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Edwards said.

“There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. I was slipping in people’s blood.”

“It was carnage,” she said. “It was chaos.”

The raw and at times explicit testimony from Edwards played out in the first public hearing on the findings of the House committee investigating the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Her recollections of the day amounted to the latest moment in the spotlight for the police officers who fought for hours as a violent mob of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with pipes, bats and bear spray, charged into the Capitol, quickly overrunning the overwhelmed police force. More than 100 police officers were injured, many beaten, bloodied and bruised.

Over her shoulder as Edwards testified sat fellow Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell and Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, all of whom testified about the violence they endured at a hearing of the panel last summer. There were moments in her testimony that brought Dunn, a 13-year veteran of the force, to tears.

Edwards’ testimony was accompanied by a barrage of never-before-seen footage, testimony and evidence the committee has gathered in the past 11 months to document how then-President Donald Trump’s words and actions led to the assault on the Capitol. Officers are seen in the footage being pummeled with flagpoles, trashcans and bike racks.

“My literal blood, sweat tears were shed in defending the building I spent countless holidays and weekends working in,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she has worked on hundreds of civil disturbances but it quickly became apparent that this one was different. She asked her supervisor for backup.

“I think we’re going to need a few more people down here,” she recalled saying, calling it “the understatement of the century,” as officers were quickly outnumbered by the hundreds of rioters.

She said she suffered a concussion after rioters forced a bike rack over the top of her head, pushing her backward. “I blacked out,” she said, adding that she experienced fainting spells for months after the insurrection.

But the moment Edwards recalled most vividly was the moment when she saw fellow officer Brian Sicknick turn “ghostly pale.”

Sicknick, who was injured while confronting rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection, suffered a stroke and died from natural causes the day after the attack. Members of his family sat alongside officers Dunn and Gonell as Edwards described his injuries.

Before she could go to help Sicknick, Edwards said, she was pepper-sprayed by the mob.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer that I would find myself in the middle of a battle,” Edwards said. “I am not combat-trained. That day it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat.”

Committee vice chair Liz Cheney thanked Edwards and the other officers and their families for being there and assisting in their investigation. The Wyoming Republican noted the sacrifice the officers made that day with the limited resources and equipment they had been given.

“As part of our investigation, we will present information about what the White House and other intelligence agencies knew, and why the Capitol was not better prepared,” Cheney said.

But Cheney pushed back on Republicans who have challenged the Jan. 6 panel to focus more intently on security failures.

“We will not lose sight of the fact that the Capitol Police did not cause the crowd to attack,” she said. “And we will not blame the violence that day, violence provoked by Donald Trump, on the officers who bravely defended all of you.”


For full coverage of the Jan. 6 hearings, go to

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Kirstie Alley enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 16, 2018 in Boreh...
Associated Press

Kirstie Alley, Emmy-winning ‘Cheers’ star, dies at 71

Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers” and the hit film “Look Who’s Talking,” has died. She was 71.
1 day ago
FILE (Mohave County (AZ) Sheriff's Office)...
Michael Houck

Arizona authorities investigate possible homicide in remote desert area

Authorities found a dead man in a remote area of the Arizona desert Sunday morning.
1 day ago
A TSA spokesman tweeted an image of the the weapons -- 3 saw blades, nunchucks, a switchblade and a...
Forrest Brown, CNN

TSA removes nunchucks, saw blades and more from carry-on bag in New York

One airline passenger thought it was a dandy idea to place a six-pack of sharp or potentially dangerous items into his carry-on bag at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Sunday.
1 day ago
A coyote attacked a 2-year-old girl in front of her house Friday afternoon in front of her house in...
David Williams, CNN

Coyote attacked 2-year-old girl in front of her Los Angeles house

A 2-year-old girl is recovering after being attacked by a coyote Friday afternoon in front of her house in a Los Angeles neighborhood.
1 day ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 07: Co-host Dolly Parton speaks onstage during the 57th Academy of Countr...
Eliza Pace

Dolly Parton joins Tiktok: ‘Better late than never!’

Dolly Parton has officially joined Tiktok.
1 day ago
Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti walks out of a New York court house after a hearing in a case w...
AMY TAXIN, Associated Press

Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in California fraud case

Incarcerated lawyer Michael Avenatti has been sentenced in Southern California to 14 years in federal prison for cheating his clients out of millions of dollars.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Capitol officer recounts Jan. 6 ‘war scene’ in her testimony