A north Alabama U.S. Army veteran is accused of sparking a stun gun during the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Bryan Shawn Smith, 36, was taken into custody by federal authorities this week in Huntsville, according to newly released court documents.
He is charged with civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds and parading, and demonstrating or picketing in a capitol building.
In the almost two years since the riot, about 900 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Smith is one of more than a dozen Alabama residents charged in connection with Capitol breach during a joint session of Congress which had convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
According to court documents, Smith was wearing an army green jacket, a camouflage baseball hat and at times black sunglasses on that day. His jacket had an Army name tag featuring his last name.
Smith, the records state, was shown on surveillance footage, “repeatedly yelling, impeding, and engaging in a group assault against law enforcement officers guarding the capitol.”
Much of Smith’s alleged involvement took place in the tunnel, which is the narrow point of entry on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol
Prior to joining the assault in the tunnel, documents allege, Smith engaged with law enforcement officers outside the scaffolding near the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace.
Body cam footage shows Smith confronting officers at a security barricade at 2:10 p.m. and resisting an officer’s efforts to get him to the leave the area.
After the rioters breached the security barricades on the Lower West Terrace, a group of officers tried to fall back behind a door underneath the scaffolding. Body cam shows officers ducking under the scaffolding while the door is locked.
About 45 seconds later, the door was opened, and Smith held the door open and refused an officer’s command to step away from the doorway to allow the officer to close the door, according to the federal complaint against Smith.
A review of surveillance footage, police body cam footage and videos posted to YouTube showed Smith subsequently participated in a violent assault against multiple law enforcement officers in the tunnel. Smith also carried a stun gun into the tunnel and gave it to a fellow rioter, investigators state.
From 2:49 p.m. until 2:50 p.m., surveillance footage capture Smith entering the tunnel and making his way toward the front of the mob that was confronting the police line.
At 2:53 p.m., footage captured Smith appearing to spark a stun gun that he had removed from his pocket moments earlier, documents state.
Smith then passed the stun gun to another rioter inside the tunnel. Within one minute, the stun gun was passed from the rioter who received it from Smith to another rioter and then to yet another rioter.
Smith exited the tunnel quickly after passing off the stun gun.
“Upon exiting the tunnel, Smith pumped his fist in an apparent effort to inspire others in the large crowd to press into the tunnel and continue the riot,’’ the investigating agent wrote.
Documents do not say how authorities initially got a potential identification for Smith. But records indicate that following the Jan. 6 attack, law enforcement officers conducted surveillance at the address identified as his residence on his driver’s license and in his military records.
Agents saw Smith in the front yard of his home, wearing a baseball cap. The investigator said it was his opinion that the man in the yard was the same captured in the Capitol riot videos.
Investigators interviewed three people who knew Smith personally and they were 80 to 100 percent confident that the man in the videos was Smith, records state.
FBI agents also confirmed Smith had leave from his place of employment in Alabama from Jan. 6 through Jan. 8. His vehicle was identified driving through Virginia on Jan. 6.
The federal complaint against Smith was filed in November and unsealed on Wednesday. He was taken into custody Tuesday in Huntsville.
Smith is set to have his first court appearance on Dec. 20. His custody status was not immediately available.
© 2022 Advance Local Media LLC
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.