Cigar Puffing Jan 6 Rioter Tracked Down & Arrested 20 Months After Attack


More than 20 months after January 6, federal authorities have now arrested yet another member of the Trump-incited mob — this time from New Jersey — who assaulted police.

Salvatore Vassallo, who is 59 years old, “grabbed and pushed” D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Mark Eveland during a confrontation between police and rioters in a portion of the Capitol grounds known as the Upper West Terrace. A court filing from the defendant’s case notes the assault unfolded in close proximity to two locations where rioters could easily access the interior of the Capitol, including the Senate Wing Door and the Senate Fire Door, the latter of which leads into the office of the Senate Parliamentarian. Vassallo, who smoked a cigar during the violence, attacked Eveland with — as could be expected — no apparent provocation. At the time, police personnel in that area of the Capitol were trying to get some of the rioters who were around, including Vassallo, to leave. Instead, he abruptly separated himself from the crowd, seemingly lit a cigar, and charged at Eveland, according to available information.

The court filing notes Eveland was working on providing assistance to fellow officers at the time of the assault from Vassallo. Concurrently, the New Jersey man’s charges now include two felonies and five misdemeanors. The felonies are assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon and interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder. The first offense — of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon — comes with up to 20 years in prison if found guilty, although significantly shorter sentences are certainly possible. After originally assaulting D.C. officer Eveland, Vassallo abruptly — evidently of his own accord — went elsewhere. Per that court filing, the FBI received a tip about Vassallo in June of last year, and in the course of prosecutors building their case, a former neighbor was interviewed and shown still images from body cam footage depicting various scenes at the Capitol involving Vassallo. The former neighbor expressed certainty that the man in the image was, in fact, Vassallo, also known as Sal.

In building their case, prosecutors evidently relied both on body cam footage from that day and open source videos, meaning footage from outside, third-party sources that was presumably available online. Vassallo was released for now as his case moves forward.