Iced Earth founder and electric guitar player Jon Schaffer has been taken into custody and is facing six criminal charges relating to the violent riot at the US Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6.
Schaffer was initially captured in a photo among a group of rioters who pushed past police to enter the Capitol building. At the time, lawmakers were convened in a joint session of congress to count Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Schaffer is reported to have turned himself in to authorities on January 17.
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office announced on Twitter (opens in new tab) that Schaffer, who resides in Columbus, IN, “faces 6 charges including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with "bear spray."
According to the Field Office, the six charges Schaffer faces are:
1) Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
2) Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
3) Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
4) Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
5) Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
6) Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building
According to the FBI, Schaffer sprayed United States Capitol police officers with bear mace in an effort to push the officers back and breach the Capitol building.
Schaffer was photographed on surveillance cameras carrying the spray, as well as holding what has been identified as "clear sunglasses."
More than 200 people are currently under FBI investigation in connection to insurrection and violence.
Following Schaffer’s initial identification, his Iced Earth bandmates released a statement distancing themselves from the guitarist, without naming him specifically.
“We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days,” the band wrote in a statement on Iced Earth bassist Luke Appleton’s Instagram page. “Some of you have been concerned by our silence, which we understand. We needed some time to properly process the information and find out some facts before we made a statement.
“First and foremost we absolutely do not condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.
“With broken hearts we are sending our love and compassion to everyone who has felt pain from the events on January 6th. We are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to the families of the lives lost that day. There are really no proper words to console. Just know we are with you in your shock, grief and pain. Much love to you all.”