A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for assaulting law enforcement officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Brian Gundersen, 28, of State College, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting law enforcement officers. Court documents revealed that Gundersen traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the rally and had expressed intentions of “bum rushing the white house and taking it over” on Facebook prior to the event. Gundersen illegally entered the Capitol grounds, joined a mob of rioters, and actively engaged in confrontations with law enforcement officers. Additionally, he posted on social media bragging about storming the Capitol and expressed disrespect towards members of Congress. This case was investigated by the FBI, prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The case of Brian Gundersen, a Pennsylvania man, involves his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Gundersen’s actions, along with those of others, disrupted a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress that was convened to count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election. He was found guilty of two felony charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers. Gundersen has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, 36 months of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol.
Introduction to Brian Gundersen
Brian Gundersen, a 28-year-old resident of State College, Pennsylvania, was involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Gundersen traveled from his home to Washington D.C. with his mother to attend a rally that took place on that day.
Actions on Jan. 6, 2021
Gundersen illegally entered the Capitol grounds and joined a mob of rioters climbing the Northwest Steps. Later on, he climbed up to a window in the Northwest Courtyard and shouted at officers inside the Capitol building. He then joined a mob entering the building through the Parliamentarian Door. As rioters confronted officers, Gundersen waved more individuals into the door.
Social Media Posts
Prior to his arrival in D.C., Gundersen made posts on Facebook, asking if anyone else was “going to DC on the 6th” and suggesting that they might “be able to bum rush the white house and take it over.” After the events of January 6, Gundersen posted on social media, claiming that they “all stormed the US Capitol and tried to take over the government.” He also posted a photograph of members of Congress taking cover during the attack and made disparaging remarks about them.
Brian Gundersen has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol. The prison sentence reflects the seriousness of his actions and the disruption caused to the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress.
In addition to the prison sentence, Gundersen will serve 36 months of supervised release. During this period, he will be closely monitored and must adhere to certain conditions set by the court.
Gundersen has been ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol. This restitution is intended to compensate for the damage and destruction caused during the breach.
Charges and Trial
Brian Gundersen was found guilty of two felony charges. The first charge is obstruction of an official proceeding, which refers to interference with the functioning of the U.S. Congress during the counting of electoral votes. The second charge is assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers, which relates to his physical confrontation with officers during the breach.
Gundersen’s trial took place on November 9, 2022, and followed a stipulated trial format. In a stipulated trial, the parties involved agree to certain facts and present those to the court for consideration. The stipulated facts in Gundersen’s trial outlined his actions and involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Traveling to D.C.
Brian Gundersen traveled from his home in State College, Pennsylvania, to Washington D.C. to attend the rally that took place on January 6, 2021. He made the journey with his mother.
Social Media Involvement
Before traveling to D.C., Gundersen made posts on Facebook indicating his intention to participate in the events of January 6. He asked if anyone else was going to D.C. on that day and suggested the possibility of taking over the White House. These social media posts captured the attention of law enforcement and were later used as evidence during his trial.
Entering the Capitol
On January 6, 2021, Brian Gundersen illegally entered the Capitol grounds. This action, along with the actions of others, led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol and the disruption of the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress.
Climbing the Northwest Steps
After entering the Capitol grounds, Gundersen joined a mob of rioters climbing the Northwest Steps. This was part of the initial wave of individuals who breached the Capitol building.
Shouting at Officers
While positioned at a window in the Northwest Courtyard, Gundersen shouted at officers who were inside the Capitol building. This behavior added to the chaotic atmosphere and confrontation between the rioters and law enforcement.
Entering the Parliamentarian’s Office
Gundersen entered the Parliamentarian’s Office within the Capitol building. While inside, he witnessed other rioters vandalizing the room, damaging furniture, and throwing papers to the floor.
Ransacking the Office
During his time in the Parliamentarian’s Office, Gundersen engaged in destructive behavior. He participated in ransacking the office, contributing to the overall damage caused during the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Mock Remorse Note
While in the Parliamentarian’s Office, Gundersen spent approximately eight minutes and wrote a note expressing mock remorse. The note said, “sowwy for damage,” accompanied by a crying emoticon. This note was later discovered and used as evidence during his trial.
Confrontations with Officers
Returning to the Northwest Courtyard
After leaving the Parliamentarian’s Office, Gundersen returned to the Northwest Courtyard. This area of the Capitol grounds was a focal point for confrontations between the rioters and law enforcement.
Re-entering the Capitol
Gundersen re-entered the Capitol building after returning to the Northwest Courtyard. He continued his involvement in the breach despite previous encounters with law enforcement.
Confronting Officers on the Northwest Terrace
On the Northwest Terrace of the Capitol, Gundersen joined a mob that was confronting officers who were attempting to clear the area. His presence and actions contributed to the volatile situation and endangered the safety of law enforcement officers.
Assaulting an Officer
During the confrontation on the Northwest Terrace, Gundersen assaulted an officer by rushing towards them and hitting them with his arm. Another officer intervened and pushed Gundersen back using a riot shield. This act of assault resulted in one of the felony charges for which Gundersen was convicted.
Social Media Posts
Statements about the Capitol Breach
Following the events of January 6, Brian Gundersen made statements on social media that indicated his involvement in the breach. He claimed that they “all stormed the US Capitol and tried to take over the government,” thus admitting his participation in the unlawful actions.
Disparaging Remarks about Congress
In addition to admitting his involvement, Gundersen made disparaging remarks about members of Congress. He posted a photograph showing members of Congress taking cover during the attack on the Capitol, along with a derogatory message about them.
The photograph shared by Gundersen on social media showed members of Congress in a vulnerable state, seeking shelter during the breach. This photograph further incriminated Gundersen and provided evidence of his participation in the events of January 6.
Prosecution and Investigation
The prosecution of Brian Gundersen’s case was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. They were responsible for presenting evidence, arguing the charges, and seeking a conviction.
Collaboration with National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia collaborated with the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. This collaboration ensured that the charges against Gundersen were aligned with national security concerns arising from the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Assistance from Middle District of Pennsylvania
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania provided valuable assistance during the investigation and prosecution of Brian Gundersen’s case. This collaboration between the two districts was crucial in gathering evidence and building the case against Gundersen.
Investigation by FBI’s Washington and Philadelphia Field Offices
The investigation into the breach of the U.S. Capitol was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Philadelphia Field Office. These offices worked together to identify individuals involved in the breach and gather evidence to support their prosecution.
Scope of the Investigation
Number of Arrests
In the 30 months since January 6, 2021, over 1,069 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. This extensive investigation has resulted in the identification and apprehension of numerous individuals involved in the events of that day.
Charges Related to Assaulting Law Enforcement
Among the individuals arrested, more than 350 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. These charges reflect the serious nature of the crimes committed during the breach and the threats posed to the safety of law enforcement officers.
The investigation into the breach of the U.S. Capitol remains ongoing. Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are continuing to gather evidence, identify individuals involved, and pursue charges against those responsible for the unlawful actions that took place on January 6, 2021.
In conclusion, Brian Gundersen’s involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, has resulted in his conviction and sentencing. His actions disrupted the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress and endangered the safety of law enforcement officers. The thorough investigation and collaboration between law enforcement agencies have led to the identification and arrest of numerous individuals involved in the breach. The ongoing investigation demonstrates the commitment to holding accountable those responsible for the unlawful actions that took place on that day.