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Man Accused of Using Police Shield to Ram Cops During Capitol Riot Arrested

Newsweek logo Newsweek 2/18/2022 Katie Wermus
Vincent J. Gillespie was arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting a police officer using the officer's shield during the Capitol riot. Above, pro-Trump rioters storm the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021. © Jon Cherry/Getty Images Vincent J. Gillespie was arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting a police officer using the officer's shield during the Capitol riot. Above, pro-Trump rioters storm the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

A man was arrested for allegedly fighting and assaulting a police officer by using an officer's shield and screaming "traitor" and "treason" during the January 6 Capitol riot, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

Vincent J. Gillespie, 60, was arrested and charged Friday with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, civil disorder, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, plus additional offenses. He is set to make his first court appearance Friday, the DOJ said in a statement.

Gillespie was the most recent arrest in DOJ's hunt for individuals allegedly involved in the riot on January 6, 2021, in which supporters of then-President Donald Trump attempted to stop Congress from counting electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. The DOJ said over 235 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement so far.

From at least 4:11 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. on January 6, Gillespie was allegedly in the Lower West Terrance of the U.S. Capitol with other rioters who were pushing, shoving, yelling, and fighting with law enforcement officers, according to court documents. Photos show a man believed to be Gillespie shoving his way through the crowds to reach the front where police officers were in front of an entrance.

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As he approached the line of officers defending the capitol, Gillespie managed to get ahold of a police shield before allegedly using it to ram the officers. The body camera worn by a Metropolitan Police Department officer recorded Gillespie allegedly screaming "traitor" several times and "treason" as he pointed at police, the court documents say.

The photos highlighting the man believed to be Gillespie show him standing alone in the archway with a massive crowd of rioters behind him. Another image showed the man grabbing an officer by the arm and trying to pull him into the crowd. Gillespie sustained injuries and was bleeding from his head due to his struggle with law enforcement and other rioters, court records show.

The FBI used open-source video and security cameras to locate Gillespie as he allegedly participated in the riots. The FBI also created a media campaign requesting the public's help in identifying the individuals involved, which the Boston division used for Gillespie.

The media campaign paid off as FBI Boston received several tips from people who claimed to recognize Gillespie. One tip was from a former neighbor while another was from a manager of a local hardware store he visited. A total of six witnesses came forward and identified him in four photos.

The DOJ said at least 750 people have been arrested so far in connection with the January 6 riots.

Update 02/18/22, 3:00 p.m. ET: This article was updated with information about Vincent J. Gillespie's alleged role in the Capitol riot.

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