Prosecutors have arrested and charged two Proud Boys members on Friday—one of whom allegedly led hordes of angry MAGA supporters into the Capitol and spoke about killing Vice President Mike Pence “if given the chance,” according to court filings.
The FBI has identified Dominic Pezzola as the Capitol rioter known as “Spaz” seen breaking into the building with a police shield. According to a criminal complaint, Pezzola encouraged rioters after smashing the glass protecting the west side of the building.
Pezzola’s successful shattering of the window was one of the first breaches of the Capitol and allowed other rioters to stream inside and unlock doors for more people to storm the building. A series of open-source photographs also confirm Pezzola was the individual who broke the glass.
VICE first identified Pezzola by his other nickname “Spazzo” and noted his attendance at a Dec. 12 pro-Trump Proud Boys rally in D.C. that resulted in four stabbings and the vandalism of a historic Black church.
Pezzola was allegedly seen in many photos of the event with a Proud Boys t-shirt on, a U.S. Marine Corps-logo button on his chest, and an “0351” tattoo on his right arm signifying the Infantry Assault Marine military occupational specialty.
Since the Jan. 6 riot, the FBI had posted images of “Spazzo” in and around the Capitol in an attempt to garner tips from the public about his identity. Spazzo’s participation was evidence of the Proud Boys' involvement in the Capitol mob.
The affidavit noted that Pezzola is visible in a video taken after rioters broke into the Capitol. “Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys. This is fucking awesome. I knew we could take this motherfucker over [if we] just tried hard enough,” he is heard saying in the video.
A witness referred to by the FBI as “Witness-1” told FBI agents that she spoke to “Spaz” who allegedly “bragged about breaking the windows to the Capitol and entering the building.”
In an ominous note, the FBI added that “W-1 further stated that members of this group, which included ‘Spaz,’ said that they would have killed [Vice President] Mike Pence if given the chance.”
A woman answering the phone on Friday at a number listed for Lisa Magee, with whom Pezzola's business, D Pezzola Flooring, shares an address in Rochester, N.Y., hung up on The Daily Beast after saying, “Do not call this number again.” Court records in Nevada show the pair served as witnesses in a felony assault and larceny case in 2018. Although New York State records show D Pezzola Flooring has had recurring tax issues, Pezzola has little in the way of a criminal record himself.
According to VICE, Pezzola is a father-of-two and a former Marine who enlisted after high school. Former Catholic high school classmates described him as an “aloof, angry guy” who picked fights at parties.
“Out of everyone in our class, I would have picked him out as a domestic terrorist,” one classmate said. “He was always a bit machismo,” said another.
Pezzola is not the only member of the far-right Proud Boys to be arrested for their role in the failed insurrection.
Daniel Goodwyn, a “self-proclaimed” Proud Boy, was charged Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricting building without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to a criminal complaint, Anthime Gionet, a far-right social media personality who goes by the name “Baked Alaska,” called out Goodwyn’s full name while live-streaming the riot.
Goodwyn then asked Baked Alaska to stop “doxxing” him and stated Gionet’s full name. As a Capitol Police officer tried to usher Goodwyn out of the building, he called the cop an “oathbreaker” and yelled for people to get the officer’s badge number, the complaint states.
Gionet also referred to Goodwyn in the live-stream as “SFThoughtCriminal,” the name of a far-right Telegram account popular with members of the Proud Boys.
Goodwyn was later identified when an associate contacted the FBI. He messaged the associate on Instagram while still inside the Capitol, saying, “Tell your dad if he doesn’t want his guns I can find some folks who will.”
Later, Goodwyn wrote on Instagram, “I didn’t break or take anything but I went inside for a couple of minutes.”
Last week, the feds also arrested and charged Nick Ochs, an alt-right media personality and founder of Proud Boys Hawaii, with trespassing into a restricted building.
During the Jan. 6 mayhem, Ochs posted videos and photos of himself on social media—including a selfie on Twitter that showed him smoking a cigarette in the Capitol.
Ochs—who promotes his extremist opinions online as part of the “Murder the Media” podcasting and YouTube crew—claimed that he attended the event as a journalist. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, the Proud Boys echoed his claim on the messaging platform Telegram, another favorite of white supremacists and conservative provocateurs.
Ochs unsuccessfully sought a seat in Hawaii’s state legislature as a Republican last year. Roger Stone, a Trump adviser, felon, and fellow Proud Boy, endorsed his campaign.
—William Bredderman contributed to this report