An Iraq War veteran turned Capitol Hill police officer is being hailed as a hero for his actions to delay and divert rioters as they assaulted the Capitol building earlier this month.
Eugene Goodman, who served in the Army for four years and deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, was stationed below the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 when protestors supporting President Donald Trump moved on the Capitol.
In a video taken by HuffPost, Goodman can be seen attempting to hold back the violent crowd, reaching for his firearm but opting instead retreating to the second floor. He continues talking to the rioters and directs them away from the Senate floor and into an adjacent corridor, where other law enforcement officials join him.
Senate officials have said that officials were securing the Senate chamber at the time, preventing the crowd from engaging directly with lawmakers. Outside officials have praised Goodman’s actions as providing extra time to protect senators and their staff.
Five people died in the Jan. 6 assault, including Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick, a former New Jersey Air National Guard member who was killed by the surging crowd. On Wednesday, House lawmakers impeached Trump for the second time for his role in inciting the crowd.
Earlier in the day officials from the 101st Airborne Division took to Twitter to praise the Goodman.
Capitol Hill police have not released any details of Goodman’s background or his thinking during the attack.
However, the Washington Post reported that a friend of Goodman said the veteran is unnerved by the attention and publicity, but “he said he’d do the same thing again.”
At least 58 Capitol Hill police and local law enforcement officers were injured in the assault on the Capitol. In addition, two officers were suspended and at least 10 more are under investigation for improper or inadequate response to the attack.
More than 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the Capitol on Wednesday in advance of the impeachment vote, to bolster security. As many as 20,000 are expected to be assigned to security roles in Washington, D.C. in advance of next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.