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Kansas Marine vet who breached Capitol on Jan. 6 with flag painted on head pleads guilty

Prosecutors say Chad Suenram wore a face mask painted with a U.S. flag and had a U.S. flag painted on the right side of his head when he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Department of Justice/TNS)

A Wichita, Kansas, man who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, wearing a patriotic face mask with an American flag painted on his head has pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor.

Chad Dustin Suenram, a U.S. Marine veteran, pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, court records show. His hearing was conducted before Judge Ana C. Reyes on Monday via video conference in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Suenram, 44, is among 10 Kansas residents charged in connection with the Capitol riot and the ninth to plead guilty. Eight of those defendants have been sentenced. William Pope, of Topeka, is scheduled to go to trial in July.

Suenram was arrested July 17 in Haysville, south of Wichita, after being charged with four misdemeanors: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. The government dropped three of the charges in exchange for his guilty plea.

He had been dubbed #FlagFaceMarine by a network of online investigators helping identify and locate those involved in the Capitol attack.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, the FBI tracked down Suenram after search warrant results showed that a cellphone associated with his company Gmail account was inside and outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, between 2:43 p.m. and 4:09 p.m. The business, New Look Companies Landscaping, was owned by Suenram, the document said.

The FBI said Suenram traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 through a private bus charter company. Facial recognition software on photographs and video footage taken on Jan. 6 showed that Suenram was at the Capitol that day, the affidavit said.

“In the photographs, Suenram had a painted American flag on the right side of his head, just above his ear,” it said. “Suenram was wearing a long-sleeved black hoodie with a black t-shirt over the hoodie. The black t-shirt had ‘USMC’ on the front and back in red letters and the back also displayed a metallic eagle.”

Suenram also wore a plastic face mask decorated like an American flag, the document said.

Suenram entered the Capitol through the Senate fire door about 2:45 p.m., the affidavit said, and about nine minutes later was seen on surveillance footage in a large crowd being forced out of the building through the same door.

Other footage showed that Suenram then re-entered the building through the Senate Wing door around 3:05 p.m., according to the affidavit. Video footage from cellphones of others inside the Capitol showed Suenram walking through the Crypt, then joining a group that was shouting, “USA! USA!” while recording the scene on his phone, it said.

Suenram left the Capitol through the south door vestibule after spending 25 to 27 minutes inside, the document said. But instead of leaving the grounds, it said, at 3:40 p.m. he stood in front of a mob that had gathered outside the north door and was confronting police.

“After repeated attacks by the mob, police officers retreated inside the U.S. Capitol building,” the affidavit said. “Suenram kept his place at the front of the mob, and even after the officers’ retreat inside the building, Suenram stood directly in front of the north door for several minutes, filming and cheering as police officers deployed tear gas in an attempt to clear the area.

“Suenram remained a few feet away from the north door as other rioters tried to use a bike rack and other objects to force entry into the building,” the affidavit said.

On July 12, 2022, two FBI agents contacted Suenram at his home and talked to him for about 10 minutes, the document said. He refused to be interviewed and said he was going to get an attorney.

But while they were there, the affidavit said, “Both agents confirmed that the photos of Suenram captured in this investigation are a positive match with the Suenram that was met at the residence.”


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