Internal police emails reportedly detailed more gun incidents, arrests, and safety warnings in areas near the White House hours before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol than previously disclosed.
The NBC affiliate News4 in Washington, D.C. reported Tuesday that in emails sent early Jan. 6 by U.S. Park Police and National Park Service leaders, police shared alerts about the size of the crowd forming outside the White House Ellipse in anticipation of then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally speech — and concerns about items some in the crowd carried or displayed.
“Many/Most visitors have brought backpacks that are not permitted in venue by USSS,” one email warned. “USPP units are having to collect and sweep these backpacks. Some of the backpacks were placed in the trees on the [Washington Monument] grounds and are being removed by USPP and NPS assets.”
One alert shared by a Park Police commander with police lieutenants and National Park Service officials said the growing crowd near the White House was seen “wearing ballistic helmets, body armor and carrying radio equipment and military grade backpacks.”
Another revealed a U.S. Park Police official had reported one person had been detained with a rifle near the World War II Memorial. The email, which was sent to a group of Park Police officers and National Park Service officials, also reported an undercover police unit was monitoring a person in a tree along 16th Street, suspected of having a handgun near his or her waist.
A USPP spokesperson told the news outlet the 24-year-old with the rifle was arrested and charged with having an unregistered firearm.
In one alert shared by a Park Police commander with police lieutenants and NPS officials, a growing crowd was described to be near the White House “wearing ballistic helmets, body armor and carrying radio equipment and military grade backpacks,” the news outlet reported.
In a separate email, police said that a group at the Washington Monument infringed on a bike rack security barrier, which led to the arrest of one person for entering a restricted area, the outlet reported.
As the morning moved forward, the emails revealed that authorities were becoming more focused on the Capitol, as rioters started traveling from The Ellipse to the Capitol complex.
In one email, a Park Police intelligence branch commander said :“We are monitoring the group’s movement through the city.”
Some emails also reveal reports of “very suspicious packages around Capitol proper,” the news outlet reported.
It was later discovered pipe bombs were placed outside the headquarters for the Democratic and Republican national committees.
The emails come as a House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack have issued requests for documents it wants to investigate as part of the attack, The Hill reported.
More than 600 people have reportedly been charged in connection to the Jan. 6 attack.