Boyland and her buddy Justin Winchell drove up from Kennesaw, Georgia, for Trump’s “Save America” rally, and managed to arrive at a second-floor promenade on the west side of the Capitol, before they were stopped at a tunnel that, before the insurgency, was most recognizable as the one traversed by presidents and other VIPs during inauguration.
Let’s zoom out for context and orientation. See that red-trimmed arch in the center of this photo from Jan. 20, 2017? That’s the tunnel.
That’s where The Times’ forensic journalists place Boyland and Winchell during the events that took her life; The Times notes that the tunnel was guarded, so the rioters immediately encountered “a line of riot police” who pushed them back in a lengthy battle for the tunnel that started around 2:30 p.m. According to Winchell’s account to an Atlanta CBS affiliate, Boyland fell to the ground when the crowd pushed back. “I put my arm underneath her and was pulling her out, and then another guy fell on top of her, and another guy was just walking (on top of her),” Winchell said. “There were people stacked two to three deep … people just crushed.”
Winchell, predictably, neither blames Trump, nor his fellow insurrectionists, nor himself for his actions, and certainly not for the attack. Instead, he blames antifa. “She was killed by an incited event, and it was not incited by Trump supporters,” he told CBS 46.
Facts, of course, paint quite a different picture. Winchell and Boyland didn’t actually make it to the front of the tunnel fray for some time; video analyzed by The Times first catches Winchell there—already searching for Boyland, who had already fallen—shortly after 4 p.m. Other men joined the fight to rescue the unconscious insurrectionist, to bring her to police officers for help, even as their fellow rioters attacked those same police officers. Paramedics navigated the havoc and found Capitol Police officers performing CPR on Boyland in the Rotunda, but it was too late. At 6:09 p.m. on Jan. 6, the Georgia woman—a recovering addict-turned conspiracy theorist who had big dreams of helping others find sobriety—was declared dead.
The Times’ forensic analysis is accessible and necessary reading to anyone attempting to make some sense of the violence of Jan. 6. It’s also punctuated by short video clips that show more mass fervor than they do Boyland’s actual demise; it’s fleeting glimpses of her sweatshirt logo and backpack strap that are instrumental in identifying her, rather than the clear images of, say, Babbitt’s final moments. If nothing else, the scope of the work done by journalists Evan Hill, Arielle Ray and Dahlia Kozlowsky offers just a glimpse at the project facing investigators as they seek to build precise timelines of events and clear identification of the many participants in Trump’s attack on the U.S. government.