When Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building on Wednesday in an unprecedented attack on U.S. democracy, QAnon supporters led the way.
A video captured by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, who was inside the building at the time, shows the moment when rioters first breached the Capitol after they climbed up scaffolding on the outside and entered on the first floor.
The terrifying video shows a Black Capitol Police officer trying to stop the protesters from coming into the building, putting his hand on his firearm several times and telling the group of what appears to be several dozen people to “back up.”
But the group doesn’t back down, and the man leading the charge is a protester wearing a shirt with a large Q emblazoned on the front, signifying support of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
As the officer runs away up the stairs while wielding a baton, the man in the Q shirt runs after him and only stops when confronted by more police officers.
QAnon has become central to the election conspiracy theories that have helped incite the violence on display on Wednesday. President Donald Trump has in recent weeks and months adopted many of the wild and unfounded conspiracies being shared by leading QAnon influencers—which include several lawyers who were at one point part of Trump’s own legal team.
Ahead of Wednesday’s riot, QAnon accounts on Twitter were actively calling for the protests to turn violent—and it appears that many of them followed their own advice.
One of the people who stormed the Capitol was the easily identifiable figure of the “Q Shaman,” whose real name is Jake Agneli, a small-time actor, voice-over artist, and singer from Arizona who has become a leading figure within the movement, appearing at many QAnon events.
After storming the Capitol, Agneli then made his way to the Senate floor and posed for pictures on the dais.
Agneli then appears to have become tired of storming the Capitol, telling fellow rioters to “go home.”
While many QAnon supporters celebrated the storming of the Capitol, a number of leading QAnon influencers have already begun to distance themselves from the incident claiming that the incident they helped to foment is a “false flag” operation or being conducted by Antifa.
“QAnon promoters calling the sacking of the Capitol a ‘false flag’ is to distance and absolve themselves of the horror they've created,” Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory debunker, tweeted. “They know it's real, they know they helped make it happen, and the blood spilled is on their hands. But if it's fake, then they're off the hook.”
While the unprecedented scenes in Washington on Wednesday were a surprise to many, a lot of experts have been flagging the dangers of QAnon’s extremist views moving from the online sphere into the real world for months.
“QAnon followers were convinced that Vice President Pence somehow had the power to reject the election results, a belief which was encouraged by the president himself,” Travis View, a conspiracy theory researcher told VICE News.” So it's unsurprising that QAnon followers led the charge into the Senate chamber to disrupt the proceedings after this delusion crumbled—the security threat posed by QAnon has always been obvious.”