West Virginia State Lawmaker Among Rioters Who Invaded the U.S. Capitol: 'Absolutely a Shame'

Sean Neumann
·4 min read

Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature West Virginia Del. Derrick Evans

A West Virginia state lawmaker shared a video of himself celebrating alongside pro-Donald Trump rioters after invading the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

The recently elected state representative Del. Derrick Evans is heard shouting, "We’re in! We’re in, baby!" in a video clip he later deleted from social media.

Journalists recorded the video and re-shared the clip on social media, while West Virginia lawmakers soon called for the Republican delegate's resignation.

The first-term Republican has since shared a written statement on Facebook saying he was headed back to West Virginia and "did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement, nor did I participate in any destruction that may have occurred."

On Friday, U.S. officials announced that Evans was charged in a criminal complaint with entering a restricted area and entering the Capitol. Evans' lawyer, John Bryan, told CNN he declined to provide any comment on the charge. Evans announced his resignation on Saturday.

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The state’s House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, a fellow GOP party member, said in a statement Wednesday that Evans "will need to answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today."

"While free speech and peaceful protests are a core value of American society," Hanshaw wrote, "storming government buildings and participating in a violent intentional disruption of one of our nation’s most fundamental political institutions is a crime that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

A spokesperson for the statehouse tells PEOPLE that it's up to the state's House of Delegates on how to punish Evans for his participation in what former presidents and federal lawmakers have described as a failed "insurrection" attempt on the U.S. Capitol building.

Evans can either be removed by "a two-thirds vote of elected delegates" or censured with "a simple majority vote," the spokesperson said.

"Both of those options would require a resolution that would need to be introduced and voted upon by the full House," the spokesperson added. State delegates are scheduled to convene for their first session next Wednesday.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Rioters outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Damage inside the US Capitol building on Jan. 7

Some state lawmakers called on the recently elected lawmaker to face prosecution or be censured over his involvement in Wednesday’s riot. Four people died, according to local law enforcement.

Evans did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment Thursday.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told local WCHS News it was shameful that Evans participated.

"I don’t know this gentleman at all, but I think that’s absolutely a shame," Justice, 69, told the news outlet. "From the standpoint of a delegate-to-be storming the capital of the United States of America, how could you possibly condone that?"

Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans

A spokesperson for the state’s Republican Party did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. But criticism grew from Evans’ colleagues on Thursday.

RELATED: Photos of the Aftermath of the Pro-Trump Riots at the U.S. Capitol

"By his own accounts (video) newly elected Delegate Derrick Evans played a role in this insurrection," Democratic state Sen. Bob Beach wrote in a statement. "His role must be examined, dealt with swiftly, and the consequences of his action handled in the strictest of measures."

Another Democratic lawmaker, state Sen. William J. Ihlenfeld, asked Twitter followers to share information about Evans’ involvement with the FBI.

"He must be held accountable for participating in an act of insurrection against the United States government and risking the lives of lawmakers and Capitol police," the state's Democratic Party leaders wrote in a statement, calling for Evans' "immediate resignation."

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 32,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Evans to be removed from office.

"I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians," he wrote in his resignation letter. "I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state."