U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman escorted incoming Vice President Kamala Harris to Wednesday’s presidential inauguration, receiving his own ovation when he descended the stairs of the Capitol.
CBS News was first to report that Goodman, who served as an infantryman in Iraq, is the new acting deputy House sergeant at arms. He is credited with leading a mob of protesters away from the Senate chambers during the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, in which five people died, including a Capitol police officer. Another police officer died by suicide days later.
He deployed to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), from 2005 to 2006. His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.
Last week, three House members introduced legislation recommending the Congressional Gold Medal for Goodman, whose actions were captured on video. Shot by Igor Bobic, a HuffPost politics reporter, the now viral video shows Goodman attempting to hold back the crowd before luring them away from the unprotected Senate chamber.
“Just now realizing how much of a close call it was in the Senate. Literally seconds,” Bobic noted days after posting the video, in which Goodman was also overheard radioing his colleagues to alert them of the rioters’ whereabouts.
“When Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between Members of Congress & the mob, he selflessly redirected their fury on himself so they could escape,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., one of the co-sponsors of the bill, said last Thursday on Twitter.
The Washington Post first reported on Goodman’s Army ties. Several of his friends told the Post that Goodman was focused on “defusing the threat to lawmakers, not his own safety.”
“I’ve always said, if bullets start ripping through, I’m finding Goodman,” one friend said. “He’s been in hostile firefights, so he knows how to keep his head.”
In a statement, Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., another bill sponsor, said, “I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman’s fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country.”
— Gina Harkins, Hope Seck and Richard Sisk contributed to this report.
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