Chemical Spraying Jan 6 Rioter Caught By Feds After 18 Months

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A 50-year-old Texas man named William Hendry Mellors who participated in last year’s violent assault on the Capitol, where he used bear spray against police, was arrested on Monday and faces serious criminal charges. The charges include assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon, which carries up to 20 years in prison.

Mellors, like other rioters, seemed exuberant about his involvement in the violence. “Took a nice beat down from Washington DC police tonight. Some tear gas and a riot baton. Broken ribs and some stitches needed,” Mellors wrote on his account on the right-wing social media site known as Parler after the riot. He also referenced Ashli Babbitt, who he said was “murdered.” She was fatally shot while attempting to force her way closer to the House chamber where legislators were taking shelter as the rampaging mob moved forward. Mellors apparently acknowledged his criminal liability.

In a voluntary interview with the FBI on May 31 of this year, “MELLORS admitted that he brought two cannisters of bear spray with him to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. MELLORS told the agents he expected that he would be arrested for his actions on January 6, 2021,” a court filing states. That was his second voluntary interview with the FBI; the first was on April 27. The second interview took place within days of a search of his residence in Tomball, Texas, where items from what Mellors wore on January 6 were seized. His involvement in the Capitol violence appears to have been relatively well-documented. He even participated in a music video that seems to have been at least partly filmed in Washington, D.C. on the day of the Trump-incited mob’s attack. “Forgiato in DC! And I got to be in his music video at the Capital. Awesome start to a crazy ending,” Mellors said on Parler. Forgiato is a rap artist.

Other recently charged rioters include 49-year-old Dova Alina Winegeart, who’s from Oklahoma and while at the Capitol swung a wooden pole with metal attachments at a door leading to the House. The damage she was involved in inflicting surpassed $1,000, meaning the destruction of government property charge she’s facing was apparently classed as a felony and comes with up to 10 years in prison. Three friends of Winegeart provided information to prosecutors as federal personnel built their case against the Oklahoma woman. Two of them — who got in touch with federal investigators of their own volition — handed over images showing Winegeart’s participation in the Capitol attack. A third gave images and texts.

The first rioter convicted at trial — Texas man Guy Reffitt — will be sentenced August 1. Prosecutors asked a judge for 15 years in prison, arguing Reffitt’s actions should be considered terrorist in nature. He carried equipment including a gun and plastic hand-cuffs in D.C., where he was evidently prepared to take hostages.

Image: Brett Davis/ Creative Commons