Former US Capitol Police Chief gives first-hand account of Jan. 6 attack

Capitol Jan. 6
Steven A. Sund was in Philadelphia to promote his new book and talk about his experience on Jan. 6, 2021.
Maria Sund

Jan. 6, 2021.

It is a date no American will soon forget—especially Steven A. Sund. 

The former US Capitol Police Chief recalls in details the events that unfolded that dreadful day in his new book, ‘Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6.’ He says the attack on the US Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from counting electoral college votes to formalize the victory of President Joe Biden was not only an insurrection, it was the worst mass attack on law enforcement he ever experienced throughout his decades-long career.

Steven A Sund

“I have no problem talking about it,” states Sund. And with his recently released book, that’s apparent.

After being let go earlier than expected—as the former US Capitol Police Chief says, typically when you’re requested to resign, you wait until the end of a pay period, however, he was let go immediately following the events—he took matters into his own hands to have his voice heard from Congress through an 8-page letter. 

“I started looking at things and going, something’s just not right…I started putting some pieces together and said, you know, Congress needs to know,” he explains. “Things just didn’t work the way they’re supposed to on the Hill.” 

Sund’s letter included challenges presented in regards to the oversight structure of the Capitol Police Department, and the fact that the intelligence wasn’t there that they anticipated, as well as the issues he had with the Department of Defense. 

He didn’t hear back, except to let him know that the letter was received. 

“I did everything I could to try and get the information out,” says Sund. “I’m worried [these] men and women who I love dearly on the Hill—and I talk to several today—are going to be subject to this again.” 

Eventually, Sund was told he should write a book. So, he did. 

“It was emotional. I really wrote it because I wanted to write something in defense of my officers and to prevent this from happening again. But the outpouring of support I received from my officers, metropolitan police department officers, secret service agents and other federal law enforcement officers is unbelievable. I never expected it to be like this,” Sund explains. “With the officers, what I’ve been hearing is: Thank you for giving us a voice and letting the truth be heard.”

‘Courage Under Fire’ dives into the events of Jan. 6, but more so, what failed that day. Sund describes how the US Department of Defense should act in a law enforcement capacity when needed, such as for civil disobedience. 

Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

“The directive is very specific. In an instance like what I was facing on Jan. 6, all I have to do [as] an authorized civil authority is notify my commanding general for the National Guard, and he notifies the Secretary of Defense,” Sund explains. 

He also delves into the fact that with emergencies, such as on Jan. 6, they’re supposed to provide immediate assistance while they seek presidential approval to give immediate support in the law enforcement capacity. 

“Here is where it gets really interesting: They had troops within a half mile to two miles of the Capitol with all their civil disobedience unit gear. And they didn’t move an inch until 5:40 p.m.,” explains Sund.

The attack on the Capitol began at 12:50 p.m.

Sund looks into what went wrong that day, what he’s uncovered, and outlines it all in his book. He talks about the lack of intelligence they were provided, the level of concern for violence that was not conveyed, and even the amount of people in Trump’s cabinet who were concerned that the former president was going to activate large amounts of military personnel, surround the Capitol and possibly even try and take control of the certification of the Electoral College.

“I’m now finding out there are all these things that went on behind the scenes,” Sund says. “I called in 17 law enforcement agencies, 1,700 personnel, and my officers were still being beaten on live TV. Everyone could see it. I guarantee the Pentagon could see it. They have our radios… Think about that.”

He continues: “They could hear the officers begging for help, and they didn’t move a finger. You know what they do? They send Pentagon resources to the homes of generals to protect [them], even though they’re not under attack.”

As Sund says, that’s just the beginning. He also talks about what he believes the true key to preventing the attacks could have been—intelligence. 

“If the intelligence was correct, we could have fought harder, we would’ve pushed harder, we could have had mutual aid, could have had the National Guard, and we possibly could have prevented it.” 

Sund has been traveling around to promote ‘Courage Under Fire,’ including in Philadelphia on Jan. 10, with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (the Council) in partnership with the National Liberty Museum for an in-depth discussion.

So far, the new author’s book has been met with gratitude. 

“It’s important for America to know this. It’s important for people to understand what happened. The Department of Defense Inspector General did a report where they say the response was appropriate. When you read the book, you’re going to see just how false that is, because I actually used their own directives to point out the flaws and fallacies,” Sund finishes. “[This book] is  fact-based. Everything that comes out of Washington DC is all painted with politics, and as soon as you start hearing that, you shut it off. I try and write in a non-political, apolitical fashion because I’m too concerned and there’s too much important stuff to learn here.” 

To learn more about ‘ Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6’ visit and to learn more about Sund’s discussion with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, visit

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