It's past the 11 p.m. ET Sunday night curfew in Washington, D.C., but hundreds of people are still out rioting in the nation's capital. For several nights in a row now, major cities have been upended by rioters and looters in reaction to the police killing of an unarmed, African American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis last week.
The mayhem in D.C., it seems, began in full force at Lafayette Park, not far from the White House. Demonstrators jumped the gated barrier, forcing park police to move forward and try to push individuals back.
BREAKING. Some protesters have jumped the gated barrier at Lafayette Park. US Park Police push them back. The White House is behind the US Park Police l & the Secret Service. @MSNBC @nbcwashington #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/RzJgnvv7Vq— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 31, 2020
The night only devolved from there. One of the most devastating scenes of destruction in D.C. has to be the fire at St. John’s Episcopal Church on H Street, which has stood in D.C. since 1816. Just how historic is it? Every president since James Madison has worshipped there at some point. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. But rioters, it appears, lit the church on fire Sunday, and the inferno was captured on camera by Fox News reporter Kevin Corke.
Historic St. John's Church across Lafayette Square from the White House has been set ablaze by rioters tonight pic.twitter.com/CDvMGjtnQM— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 1, 2020
It’s such a beautiful landmark... This breaks my ?? pic.twitter.com/lP2HcKWTiX— JoAnn_Miller (@J_B_Miller) June 1, 2020
I am praying hard for St. John’s church in Lafayette square. It was the last place Pres. Lincoln worshiped before he was assassinated. Every president has worshipped there. I went last summer for their special 4th of July service. Please don’t let it burn.— Emily Miller (@emilymiller) June 1, 2020
Thankfully, D.C. fire crews rushed to the scene and appear to have put out the fire.
Box Alarm 1525 H St NW. #DCsBravest had fire in basement of church. Fire extinguishing. Checking for extension.— DC Fire and EMS #StayHomeDC Lite (@dcfireems) June 1, 2020
Corke, who provided coverage throughout the night and endured several rounds of tear gas, said he also saw the AFL-CIO building on fire.
At least 50 Secret Service members were injured in the riots.
Former D.C. homicide detective Ted Williams, who was sickened by this evening's scenes, said part of the problem was that the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser set an "ignorant" 11 p.m. curfew, because law enforcement is at a disadvantage at this time of the night.
"This is no longer about George Floyd," he said.
It's about committing crime.