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Bloomsburg man, founder of Trumparoo, dies in D.C. protests

Police said 50-year-old Ben Philips had a medical emergency.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — After chaos erupted at the U.S. Capitol with President Donald Trump's supporters storming the building, Washington DC police said four people died.

A fifth person has died Thursday evening, a Capitol police officer who suffered a stroke during the protest. 

One of them was  Ben Philips, 50, who had a medical emergency. Police said he was from Ringtown, but friends say he was actually from Bloomsburg.

Philips organized a bus trip to go down to Washington DC Wednesday and, in his words, "fight for Trump."

"I was in total shock. I almost was on that bus. I was going to go down to D.C., but I decided to stay up here and monitor the situation from up here," Friend Andrew Shecktor said.

Philips led a busload of Trump supporters early Wednesday morning from the corner of Main Street and Market in Bloomsburg all the way to Washington DC to protest.

It was one of many pro-Trump events that Philips organized.

"We actually met at a Trump rally earlier in 2020, and then he said he was going to give out these Trumparoo things that he had come up with and I said, 'what the heck is a Trumparoo?' and he said, 'well, why don't you come by and take a look at them,'" Shecktor said.

Trumparoo was a kangaroo dressed as Trump. Philips sold the stuffed animals at rallies. 

"He showed me this thing, and I said that's pretty cool. That's really pretty neat," Shecktor said.

He also created a social media website called Trumparoo that connected fellow Trump supporters.

This is how Shecktor will remember Philips.

"Very sure of himself, very nice, warm individual," he said.

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