Jan. 29 (UPI) — A man carrying a firearm and ammunition was arrested near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as lawmakers called for increased security following the Jan. 6 siege.
Dennis Westover, 71, was arrested outside the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial after he was found armed with a handgun and 20 rounds of ammunition. He also had “Stop the Steal paperwork,” including a list of senators and representatives both in the U.S. Congress and his home state of West Virginia and their contact information, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson said.
Westover was taken into custody and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of unregistered ammunition and unlawful possession of a firearm after Capitol Police noticed him parked in the middle of an intersection.
Capitol Police detectives said Westover told them in an interview that “he was concerned with the honesty and integrity of the election,” adding that he was in engaged in a process of “righteousness, justice and truth.”
The arrest comes weeks after hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Five people died during the insurrection, including Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick. Another Capitol Police officer who was present during the attack — Howard Liebengood — died by suicide three days later.
Earlier this week, Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III told a House committee that D.C. o fficer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran who was also working the day of the siege, also died by suicide recently.
“Other harm from this traumatic day will be widely felt but possibly unacknowledged,” he said. “Law enforcement training neither anticipates nor prepares for hours of hand-to-hand combat.”
House lawmakers on Thursday also called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the heads of the House administration committee to provide increased funds for the Member Representational Allowance, which is used to fund office operations, due to the increased need for security.
“The horrific attack on the United States Capitol reminds us of the grim reality that Members of Congress are high profile public officials and therefore, face ongoing security threats from the same domestic terror groups that attacked the Capitol just in the last month,” they wrote in a letter obtained by NBC News.
Pelosi responded by saying that “most of the items on their list have already been done” and that a commission is reviewing security failures during the riot and examining how members’ security can be increased.
“I do think while it is appropriate for them to use their MRA for their security, they shouldn’t have to because that money is there to meet the needs of their constituents,” she said.
Additionally, Pelosi warned that “the enemy is within” the House as well, referring to Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who has faced scrutiny for past statements threatening violence against Democrats.
“We have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress,” she said.