'Kill him with his own gun': US officer Michael Fanone describes facing the mob at the Capitol

Rozina Sabur
·3-min read
Officer Michael Fanone was dragged into the crowd - SHANNON STAPLETON /Reuters 
Officer Michael Fanone was dragged into the crowd - SHANNON STAPLETON /Reuters

A police officer assaulted by rioters outside the Capitol building has described how he pleaded for his life as he heard the mob threaten to kill him with his own gun.

Michael Fanone, a 40-year-old father of four, said he was pulled into the crowd and dragged to the ground by the pro-Trump crowd as he attempted to defend the Capitol during the riot on January 6.

During the ordeal he was repeatedly Tasered by the rioters, who also stole his spare ammunition and his police radio.

Some of the mob then attempted to grab his gun and screamed "kill him with his own gun," he told CNN.

Officer Fanone, a more than 18-year veteran of the DC Police force, said he briefly considered using his firearm to fight off the rioters, but realised such a move could easily backfire on him.

Instead, he said, he chose to appeal to the crowd's "humanity". "I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work," he said in a TV interview with CNN.

Footage of the assault shows officer Fanone and a colleague being dragged to the ground as the rioters bore down upon them.

In one particularly shocking clip, a man can be seen repeatedly beating a US flag pole over one of the officers. On Thursday the FBI named the attacker as Peter Stager, as they charged him with obstructing a police officer.

In a court filing, the FBI said Mr Stager had been identified after two of his acquaintances recognised him in footage taken by The Telegraph.

Officer Fanone, a narcotics detective who usually works in plain clothes, described how he rushed to the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6 when he heard the building's security was being overwhelmed by thousands of protesters intent on stopping Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election victory.

Donning a police uniform for the first time, he and his partner raced to the Capitol to assist their fellow officers. But soon officer Fanone found himself being dragged into the crowd.

Eventually, a group within the rioters formed a protective circle around him until help arrived.

Officer Fanone suffered a mild heart attack during the assault, but said the actions of a handful of the crowd may have saved his life. "Thank you - but f--- you for being there," he said of those who helped him.

It was a sentiment shared by another officer, Daniel Hodges, who was filmed being crushed against a door to the Capitol by rioters intent on gaining entry.

He described with incredulity the rioters' approach to the police officers.

"They felt like they would just walk up there and tell us that they're here to take back Congress and we would agree with them and we'd walk in hand in hand and just take over the nation," he told CNN. "But obviously that's not the case and it will never be the case."