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State College Man Found Guilty Of Felony Charges For Role In January 6 Capitol Riot

A State College man on Wednesday was found guilty of two felony charges for his role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Brian Gundersen, 28, was found guilty of obstructing the congressional vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Judge Thomas Hogan rendered the verdict after a non-jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, during which federal prosecutors and the defense agreed upon a stipulated set of facts about the case.

Gundersen, who lived in State College at the time with his mother, drove to Washington D.C. to attend former President Donald Trump’s rally before going to the Capitol.

According to the statement of facts:

Gundersen illegally entered Capitol grounds and joined a mob of rioters climbing up the northwest steps. At 2:30 p.m., he climbed up to a window next to the Senate wing door and he shouted at officers inside the Capitol Building. Twelve minutes later he joined the mob entering the building and was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol through the parliamentarian door, waving others through as rioters engaged in confrontations with police officers.

He then watched other ransack the parliamentarian’s office for about eight minutes and left a mocking note that read “sowwy for damage,” with a crying emoticon.

Gundersen continued to walk through the building until he was forced out by officers at 3:07 p.m.

He was forced out of the Capitol a second time, but remained on the grounds, moving to the northwest terrace where he joined a mob confronting officers who were trying to clear the area. Gundersen rushed at a Metropolitan police officer and hit the officer with his arm before being pushed back by another officer using a riot shield.

After being pushed away, Gundersen beat his chest with his fists and then retreated into the crowd. He remained at the lower level of the northwest terrace until a line of police advanced and forced the rioters out of the area.

In the days after January 6, Gundersen made several social media posts about the events at the Capitol. He posted a picture of members of Congress taking cover during the insurrection and wrote “Look at these scared little bitches,” called the rioters “patriots” who were “mad enough to attack the government,” and wrote “we can check bum rush the capitol building off the list of potential ways to take over the government.”

On January 8, he posted “We all stormed the us capital [sic] and tried to take over the government. We failed but fuck it.” Later in the day, he wrote “Just was at our capital(sic) building in a massive event that rocked the world.”

Gundersen was identified when multiple people in the community of Armonk, New York, where he previously lived, recognized him after spotting a Byram Hills High School varsity jacket in videos of the riot.

He was arrested on January 25, 2021. He admitted that he illegally entered the Capitol and impeded the certification of the Electoral College, and that he assaulted the Metropolitan police officer.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 27, when a federal district judge will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. The statutory maximum is 20 years in prison for the obstruction charge and eight years in prison for assaulting an officer.

Gundersen is the second person with ties to State College to be found guilty in connection with the January 6 riot. Former State College business owner Julian Khater pleaded guilty in September to two felony counts of assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon after he admitted to pepper-spraying U.S. Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Caroline Edwards. 

Nearly 900 people have been arrested for crimes related to the Capitol breach, including more than 275 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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