The FBI arrested a Donald Trump supporter on Tuesday for allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol and assaulting police officers on Jan. 6, 2021, while he was out on bail for attempted murder charges, according to NBC News and court papers.
North Carolina resident Matthew Jason Beddingfield, 21, was arrested on Tuesday in Smithfield. He now faces a handful of charges, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapons.
He is also charged with misdemeanors that have become standard in Jan. 6 cases, including disorderly conduct and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
But when Beddingfield allegedly joined the mob of Trump supporters who swarmed police and the Capitol building on Jan. 6, many looking to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, he was facing charges that were arguably significantly more serious: in December of 2019, Beddingfield was charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that took place outside a Walmart.
He was out on bail at the time of the Jan. 6 siege, and has since pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that resulted in a sentence of probation.
According to the FBI’s statement of facts supporting Beddingfield’s arrest warrant, Beddingfield first approached the Capitol from the Western Plaza shortly before 1:00 p.m.
“[S]urveillance video shows Beddingfield running onto the West Plaza of the Capitol at approximately 12:57 PM. Beddingfield approaches USCP at the barricade, and when their attention is diverted by the throng of rioters flooding the plaza from the north, he jumps the barricade,” the affidavit said.
Prosecutors say surveillance video also shows Beddingfield “jabbing at and striking law enforcement officers with the American flag attached to a metal flagpole he brought with him to the Capitol.”
Beddingfield ultimately entered the Capitol from the Upper West Terrace door, according to the affidavit, and spent around 30 minutes inside. He went into the Rotunda, where he was seen “waving his flag and stomping around.” He then allegedly joined a group of rioters “who attempt to storm the Senate Wing,” reaching as far as the Old Senate Chamber. Prosecutors say at that point, Beddingfield again used his metal flagpole to strike, or attempt to strike, law enforcement officers, but he was pushed back after officers deployed a chemical spray.
At some point, the affidavit notes, Beddingfield was able to get his hands on several bottles of water. He also used a drinking fountain to wash out his eyes, prosecutors say.
Beddingfield was first publicly identified by online sleuths who assigned him two Jan. 6-related monikers: “#SoggyKidInsider (possibly because he is pictured emerging from the Capitol covered in what appears to be a liquid), #NaziGrayHat (possibly because he appeared to make a gesture that is commonly associated with the Nazis).”
Indeed, prosecutors include what they say is a picture of Beddingfield on the West Plaza of the Capitol “with an outstretched arm held upwards at an angle with the palm down.”
He was also featured in a story by journalist Ryan J. Reilly for HuffPost about the use of facial recognition in identifying Jan. 6 offenders.
According to North Carolina court records reviewed by Law&Crime, Beddingfield pleaded guilty in August to one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting in serious injury. The attempted first-degree murder charge was dropped.
Beddingfield received a suspended sentence of 25 to 42 months behind bars, and he was placed on 24 months of probation.
According to court records, one of the conditions of Beddingfield’s probation is that he “[r]emain within his county of residence unless granted written permission to leave by the court of the defendant’s probation officer.”
Read the FBI’s Statement of Facts in support of the arrest warrant for Beddingfield, below.
[Images via FBI court filing.]
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