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Capitol Police officer from Coachella protected Congress from pro-Trump mob

A Capitol Police officer who grew up here in the valley was in the thick of the chaos in the nation's capital Wednesday.

Juan Lopez, originally from Coachella, is being praised by members of Congress for his heroic actions in Washington D.C.

His family tells News Channel 3 exclusively that they couldn't be prouder. "He's what you would call the ideal public servant," said Lopez's brother, Michael Herrera. "I think he really enjoys helping others."

Video from inside the Capitol shows Lopez struggling to hold back the violent mob of pro-Trump rioters who strong armed barricades and shattered windows, forcing Congress to evacuate.

As the dramatic images swept the nation and the world, Herrera and his brother Will said they watched in real time, as worries sparked that their brother could be in harm's way. "Kinda hit home a little more I think," Will Herrera said. "Got a little more maybe nervous for him, but yeah, he was right smack in the middle of it."

They said Lopez has remained modest about his heroic work, but he's not without injury. "He tried not to make a big deal about it. He had bumps and bruises here and there but he's fine," Michael Herrera said.

And somehow – through the rampant disorder – Lopez discovered an old friend to keep safe.

Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz said he was protected by Lopez, who he'd mentored since he was a senior at Coachella Valley High School. Ruiz later gave him a job, leading him to Washington.

Ruiz wrote on social media he's "so grateful for and proud of Juan."

And while Lopez's family was, at times, concerned for his safety, they said there is no greater honor than seeing their brother protect and serve.

"A measure of pride that he's there serving his community and serving to protect the political leaders of our country," Michael Herrera said.

News Channel 3 reached Lopez himself, but due to the nature of his employment we weren't able to interview him.

Lopez said he's grateful for his family back home here in the valley.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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