The hardened-steel baton made the most disturbing sound as it bounced off Victoria White’s skull. It varied between a hollow click and a deeper snap, depending on where on her head the metal weapon made contact.
“Please don’t beat her!” a man in the crowd yelled.
It was chaos in the West Terrace tunnel entrance of the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021. Outside, thousands who had attended President Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally milled about the terrace, while groups of rioters battled police near the tunnel.
An almost demonic cacophony emanated from under the tunnel arch.
“I didn’t even touch you,” a woman cried. “I need help! I need help,” a man shouted.
“Stand up, dammit!” intoned a police officer in riot gear. “Get out!” boomed another.
Then a blood-curdling scream, followed by the ear-splitting sound of an emergency siren.