Capitol Riot Officer Harry Dunn Asks Police Critics: 'Who Was I Supposed to Shoot?'

A U.S. Capitol officer has challenged anyone who thinks police should have opened fire on the January 6 rioters, asking: "Who was I supposed to shoot?"

Officer Harry Dunn made the comments as he described the challenge faced by law enforcement that day and told how his police radio crackled with multiple reports of "officer down," an explosion, "shots fired" and rioters "coming through the windows."

His colleague, Brian Sicknick, and four other people died in the violence that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.One rioter was shot dead by police.

Asked why more shots were not fired during the storming of the Capitol, Officer Dunn told The New York Times podcast The Daily: "I know a lot of people want to know, 'Why the hell didn't you shoot them?' When you say shoot them, which one? All of them?

"They were freakin' possessed zombies it was insane ... no matter what, they just kept coming and coming and coming. There were so many of them. It was just wave after wave, after wave, after wave. It was like, where does it end?"

Officer Dunn, who has previously spoken about how he feared for his life that day, would not discuss whether his superiors had issued any orders on the use of force.

"You can't use force against everybody," he said on the podcast, when asked if he had considered doing so. "You can't use force on somebody because you think that somebody's going to do something bad.

"Who? Just because I thought that it was going to happen, who do I shoot? Who do I shoot? If somebody knows, please tell me."

He added: "It's problematic when you start talking about using deadly force against people and using the fear for your life thing, because that's an emotion. Just because I was scared isn't a reason for why I should have taken someone's life."

Officers respond to the Capitol rioting
Capitol Police, FBI and ATF personnel push out supporters of Donald Trump who broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Harry Dunn was among the officers working to protect lawmakers that day. Getty Images/Brent Stirton

The 13-year Capitol Police veteran also revealed more details about the riot, listing radio reports that he heard during the disorder.

"As we [were] responding to calls it was officer down, it was officer who was trapped surrounded by rioters, there was a call for officer needs assistance holding the doorway, then another officer calls out they're coming through the windows, also.

"Then there were calls for another officer down, another officer down. We can't breathe, there's gas in here, they're throwing fire extinguishers, there's some kind of explosion that just went off, there's shots fired ... it's chaos.

"The calls became so frequent and so many that we couldn't do two-man teams anymore because there weren't enough officers to go round for people that needed assistance, so everybody now were just one-man teams."

Officer Dunn and many of his colleagues—including Eugene Goodman, who steered rioters away from the Senate chamber—were widely praised for their bravery during the violence. At least 134 officers were injured on January 6.

At the same time, the Capitol Police department is investigating the actions of 35 officers that day. Six of them have been suspended.

Earlier this week, a Congress-commissioned task force looking at how to improve security made a series of recommendations, including hiring more than 800 extra Capitol Police officers, improving the process of getting reinforcements to the site and erecting mobile fencing around the building.