US riots: Capitol mob wanted to ‘execute’ VP Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Disturbing new details have emerged about the apparent murderous intentions of some of the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol this week, including killing Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Authorities have revealed that a vehicle found near the scene shortly after the siege contained a large number of firearms and explosives.

It comes as a Reuters photographer recounted what rioters were discussing as they tore through the Capitol on January 6 – including hanging the Vice President from a tree for being a “traitor”.

Despite being a Republican, Pence is now loathed by a number of Trump supporters after endorsing Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

In newly released footage, rioters can be heard chanting, “Where’s Mike Pence?” as they rush through the Capitol building, while others demand “heads on pikes”.

According to CNN, a terrified Pence and his family — wife Karen, daughter Charlotte and brother, Representative Greg Pence — could hear the chants as they were evacuated from the building.

Pence wasn’t the only target of some rioters.

An armed rioter was arrested and texts were found on his phone of his alleged plans to execute Nancy Pelosi by shooting her or running her over with his car.

“I heard at least three different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor,” tweeted Jim Bourg, a Reuters News Pictures editor in Washington DC.

“It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed,” he added.

Another journalist, The Independent’s Washington correspondent Andrew Feinberg, said that the threat went further than just Mike Pence.

“There are multiple photographs of pro-Trump rioters carrying law enforcement-style flex-cuffs,” Feinberg tweeted.

“Rioters went looking for @VP [Mike Pence], @SpeakerPelosi [Nancy Pelosi] and @SenSchumer [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer].

“It raises the question of whether there was an organised plan to take hostages,” he added.

Rioter Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr allegedly sent a text message saying he was thinking of “putting a bullet in [Pelosi’s] noggin on Live TV”, and another saying he was headed to Washington with “a s**t ton of … armour-piercing ammo”, CNN reported.

Meredith also allegedly texted a friend about running over Pelosi with his car. He was found with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and an assault rifle.

Meredith is one of three defendants found carrying significant weaponry near the riots, and is due in court next week charged with writing the threats, and with possession of an unregistered firearm and ammo.

Meanwhile, authorities are hunting a man captured on camera leaving pipe bombs outside the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee in the hours before the siege.

The FBI has widely shared a photo of the man, and also offered a US$50,000 reward (NZ$69,000) for any further information.

Another man was arrested after being found with multiple firearms and 11 molotov cocktails in his car just outside the Capitol building.

Alabama man Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and carrying a pistol without a licence after the discovery of the molotov cocktails in his car.

So far, 13 people are facing federal charges stemming from the riot, the Justice Department said.

Police have launched a social media campaign to find some of the biggest offenders.

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