Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Citadel cadet arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot files for S.C. House seat as Republican

Elias Irizarry and state Rep. David O’Neal pictured outside the State House in Columbia, S.C., on April 6, 2023. (Maayan Schechter/The State/TNS)

Elias Irizarry, who was a Citadel cadet when he was arrested for being part of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has filed as a Republican to run against a veteran S.C. House of Representatives member.

Irizarry, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, will run in House District 43, which covers much of Chester County and part of southeastern York County.

Irizarry, 22, filed late Wednesday.

He will be running against incumbent Rep. Thomas “Randy” Ligon, R-Chester, a Chester realtor, auctioneer and farmer, who filed March 16. Ligon has been in office since 2019.

“My record speaks for itself in getting conservative results,” Ligon said in a statement. “I’m confident our voters will make a wise choice on June 11. Looking forward to the conversation.”

Irizarry could not be reached for comment.

Irizarry and Ligon and any others who file for that seat will run against each other in the June Republican primary.

The Citadel said Thursday that Irizarry is enrolled as a student at South Carolina’s military college.

Irizarry was a freshman at The Citadel on Jan. 6, 2021, when, sporting a red “Make America Great Again” hat, he illegally entered the U.S. Capitol with a mob of thousands who had broken through barricades and fought with police. Unlike many rioters, he did not assault police officers or damage property but he was photographed carrying a metal stick that he had picked up.

Irizarry was one of 26 South Carolinians who have been arrested by the FBI for their actions that day. So far, 19 have pleaded guilty to various offenses. Another was found guilty by a District of Columbia jury. Charges against the other six are pending.

The Citadel allowed Irizarry, who had an excellent record as a student leader and was an honors student, to continue his studies. He was suspended after October 2022, when he pleaded guilty in Washington before U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan. The Citadel announced it was suspending him because he had committed “conduct unbecoming a cadet.”

The misdemeanor charge to which Irizarry pleaded guilty to was entering and remaining on restricted building.

Chutkan, the federal judge who will preside over former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6-related trial, sentenced Irizarry to 14 days in jail. According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, Irizarry finished serving his sentence in May 2023.

In court, Irizarry admitted that he entered the Capitol through a broken window after passing barricades and going through fencing outside. He climbed on statues and took pictures inside with others. He left the Capitol after 27 minutes.

In court, Irizarry also renounced what he called the “crazy insurrectionists” who sought to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power and admitted to making what he called “the worst mistake of my life.”

Last spring, Irizarry got a job in the S.C. House of Representatives working as a page with the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Irizarry was sponsored by state Rep. David O’Neal, a York County Republican and former mayor of Tega Cay who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army.

“He’s a good kid. He made a mistake,” O’Neal told The State. “And we can all use redemption sometimes, you know, and a second chance, and this kid is worth saving. He’s just that good of a kid.”

Larry Barnett, York County Republican Party Chairman, said anyone who has legal standing to run for office can do so. Candidates do not have to ask the county party or state party to file, Barnett said

“I am okay with Elias running,” Barnett said.

At one court hearing, Judge Chutkan underscored the seriousness of the Jan. 6 insurrection, telling Irizarry that he was part of a “mob (that) almost caused the halt of the transfer of power in this country in what’s tantamount to an attempt to overthrow this government.”

Irizarry, the judge continued, “may not have carried a weapon, he may not have stolen anything, he may not have assaulted a police officer, but he’s alleged to have been part of that mob.”

Irizarry had travelled to Washington on Jan. 6 with friends to attend former President Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally and was on a break from The Citadel, according to court records. Trump has made numerous false claims that Democrats cheated him out of victory in the November 2020 election. But some 60 lawsuits filed in that election’s aftermath failed to find fraud, and Trump’s own Attorney General, William Barr, said there was no fraud substantial enough to have changed election results.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 1,355 people have been arrested for charges related to the storming of the Capitol. Of those, 486 face charges of assaulting police or employees and 127 are charged with using a dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer. The arrests and investigation into the Capitol breach are continuing.


© 2024 The State

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC