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Arizona's Rep. Gallego reflects on the Jan. 6 insurrection 3 years later

New polling from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland says that one in four Americans wrongly think that the FBI provoked the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Now a U.S. Senate candidate, Ruben Gallego was on the House floor that day three years ago, and the congressman shared his memories with KJZZ News. 

Gallego did not know if the unease he felt was due to a real threat from Trump supporters or the effects of having been a U.S. Marine in combat.

His answer grew clear as security barricaded the House floor.

“This situation was worse than people were anticipating. And I was trying to communicate that to other members of Congress. Like, ‘We’re in trouble,'” Gallego said.

Military training taught Gallego that mobs are weapons when they advance like a wave. But he fought alongside other Marines, and the enemy was foreign. 

“There is nothing scarier than knowing your own countrymen were willing to kill you. That’s something that I have never really felt," he said. 

Gallego said politicians like Kari Lake — a potential opponent in the Senate race — have used partisanship and gullibility to spread lies about the Capitol insurrection.

This week President Joe Biden released a new campaign ad and has given a speech to mark the third anniversary.

Gallego helped colleagues in the House of Representatives put on gas masks that day and evacuate the floor. Before he left, Gallego said he took a picture.

“Of the doors being barricaded with furniture as the insurrectionists were pounding on the doors. And there was really essentially 25 feet of space between us and these insurrectionists," Gallego said. 

Roughly 900 people have pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes while taking part in the Capitol riot that occurred three years ago, according to the Associated Press.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.