Two Montana brothers accused of being among the first 10 people to storm the U.S. Capitol—before chasing a lone Black cop through the building and wreaking havoc inside the Senate chamber—have been charged.
Joshua Calvin Hughes and his brother Jerod Wade Hughes have been charged with a slew of offenses, including obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of property, and entering the Capitol without authorization. The brothers are among more than 150 rioters who have been charged for the Jan. 6 insurrection, including several members of far-right organizations and former law enforcement officials.
Prosecutors allege the brothers were among the initial mob who broke into the building via a window and advanced toward the Senate chamber. The pair confronted Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who was alone trying to protect the Senate chamber and was caught on video heroically shoving one of the rioters and diverting the mob. Goodman ended up being chased through the hallways of the building and up the stairs.
Goodman’s actions, which potentially saved the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and other elected officials who were inside the Senate, were filmed by HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic in a clip that has been viewed more than 10 million times on Twitter.
Goodman was promoted last week to acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms and escorted Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to hold the office, at the inauguration.
According to a criminal complaint, the brothers were seen in videos and surveillance footage among a group “who broke open windows and doors and forced entry” into the Capitol. In one video, they can be seen watching someone break a window with what looks like a police riot shield before they climb through.
Once inside, Jerod Hughes was seen kicking a door “until the lock broke so that other rioters could enter” the building.
After the interaction with Goodman, more cops were called in for backup.
“Officers reported that they were too far outnumbered to attempt to arrest the rioters, so instead they used their training to try and de-escalate the situation by talking with individuals in an attempt to calm them down,” the complaint says.
“Notwithstanding these efforts, officers were met with shouting and aggression. In reviewing a digital video recording of this altercation, rioters can be heard shouting ‘this is our house,’ ‘this is our America,’ and ‘we’re here for the corrupt government.’”
During the altercation with police, one rioter slammed a fire extinguisher on the ground causing it to rupture in what was described as an “explosion.” The incident de-escalated the situation and forced the mob to leave the Capitol atrium, the complaint says.
Prosecutors, however, said the Hughes brothers didn’t leave and eventually found their way onto the Senate floor.
“While on the Senate floor, Joshua Calvin Hughes, Jerod Wade Hughes, and other rioters sat in Senators’ chairs, opened Senators’ desks, and reviewed sensitive material stored therein,” the complaint states.
The complaint says the brothers turned themselves in to police on Jan. 11 after seeing themselves on the news and believing they were wanted by the FBI.
A Facebook account matching Joshua Hughes’ name and location has several photos of the Montana native in a MAGA hat. His “likes” include Fox News stars Tucker Carlson and Tomi Lahren, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, and the former president.
In one April 2017 photo, Joshua Hughes is photographed with Kyle Chapman, also known as Based Stickman after he was photographed beating a protester with a stick at a California Trump rally in March 2017. Chapman is the founder of the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights—which used to be associated with the Proud Boys. According to the social media account, Hughes went to the University of Montana, where he studied health and human performance.
Two Pennsylvania women were also arrested on Friday after allegedly expressing their desire to hurt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the riots.
Dawn Bancroft and Diana Santos-Smith are both facing three charges for their roles in the insurrection, including knowing entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
“We broke into the Capitol…we got inside, we did our part,” Bancroft, wearing a MAGA ski-cap, said in one video. “We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain but we didn’t find her.”
In a criminal complaint, prosecutors allege the two women were seen in a video trying to leave the Capitol after the riots. While initially claiming they had only attended former President Donald Trump}s rally and not the subsequent riot—the pair admitted to authorities on Jan. 20 they entered the Capitol through a broken window and wandered inside for about 30 minutes.
A QAnon-believing couple from Illinois was also charged on Friday. According to a criminal complaint, Jason and Christina Gerding posted a photo of themselves standing in front of the “Declaration of Independence” painting in the Capitol Rotunda on the day of the riots.
The couple were wearing matching Trump attire and captioned the photo: “made it inside.” Jason Gerding’s Facebook page also had a photo of a George Washington statue in the Capitol wearing a Trump hat. The couple is facing multiple charges.
Wilmar Montano Alvarado, a Houston resident, was also charged Friday after he was caught on video violently pushing into a line of officers to enter the Capitol. He is featured in an official FBI poster on wanted suspects.
Prosecutors allege Alvarado told a local TV station that he flew to D.C., but he denied being part of the group that went inside the Capitol. In an interview with the FBI, he insisted he only stood on a balcony waving an American flag. A YouTube video, however, shows him in a group who “violently battle[d] their way through a line of police officers guarding the West Terrace entrance to the Capitol building.”
Las Vegas authorities on Thursday also arrested two men who allegedly set up a GoFundMe to help finance their trip to D.C. for the riot.
Nathaniel DeGrave, a 31-year-old from Las Vegas, was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Ronald Sandlin, a 31-year-old who was arrested at DeGrave’s apartment complex, was also charged Friday with similar offenses. He allegedly smoked a joint in the Capitol.
Josiah Colt, who went to D.C. with the pair, has already been charged with the same offenses after he was pictured sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair. Colt also infamously rappeled down into the Senate Chamber instead of taking the nearby stairs.
Prosecutors say Sandlin posted online two days before Christmas that he was going to D.C. to “show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the rubicon. If you are a patriot I believe it’s your duty to be there. I see it as my civic responsibility.”
On New Year’s Eve, he posted, “Dear Patriots, I’m organizing a caravan of patriots who are going to Washington D.C. to stand behind our president Donald J. Trump,” adding that while the trio had already booked their trip, they needed “help and support.”
“Every dollar you contribute to us is a smack in the face to Antifa. Every penny is a boot in the ass against tyranny. Every Buffalo nickel is a body slam against China. If you can’t be there in person this is the next best thing,” Sandlin said in the Dec. 31 Facebook post, which included a link to a GoFundMe page titled “Patriots Defending Our Country On Jan. 6th, organized by Ronnie Sandlin.”
In a Jan. 2 Facebook post, Sandlin reported that GoFundMe deleted their fundraiser. “This is tyranny,” he said.
The trio is seen in various photos and videos storming the Capitol, including one where Sandlin and DeGrave are shoving cops. In one video, Sandlin is seen smoking a joint in the Capitol Rotunda. “We made history guy. People are smoking weed in here. Please, may I please hit that... I am smoking weed. Thank you patriot,” Sandlin says in the video.
The men also recorded videos of themselves before, during, and after the riots touting claims the election was stolen. The complaint says that, in another video, DeGrave speaks directly to the camera and says, “We are out here protecting the country, if shit goes down, if [former Vice President Mike] Pence does what we think he is going to do, then we are here to defend this city, defend any city in this country. Let Antifa try us, we are here, we are ready. I say bring it. We are not silent anymore.”