WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man has been found guilty in the District of Columbia of felony charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Brian Gundersen, 28, of State College, Pennsylvania, was found guilty on Nov. 9, 2022, of obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers. Judge Thomas F. Hogan returned the verdict after a trial in which Gundersen and the government agreed upon a stipulated set of facts regarding his conduct.
According to the stipulated facts, on Jan. 6, 2021, Gundersen illegally entered the Capitol grounds, joining a mob of rioters climbing the Northwest Steps. At about 2:30 p.m., he climbed up to a window in the Northwest Courtyard, next to the Senate Wing Door. While there, he shouted at officers inside the Capitol Building. At about 2:42 p.m., Gundersen joined a mob entering the building; he was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol through the Parliamentarian Door. As rioters engaged in a confrontation with officers, Gundersen waved more into the door.
Gundersen then entered the Parliamentarian’s Office. While inside, he saw rioters ransacking the room, wrecking furniture, stealing, and throwing papers to the floor. He spent about eight minutes in the office and wrote a note while there, expressing mock remorse: “sowwy for damage,” with a crying emoticon. Gundersen then continued moving through the building, being forced out by officers at about 3:07 p.m.
He then returned to the Northwest Courtyard and re-entered the Capitol. He was once again forced out by officers. He remained on the grounds, however, moving to the Northwest Terrace. There, he joined a mob that was confronting officers trying to clear that area. Gundersen rushed an officer, hitting the officer with his arm. He was pushed back by another officer using a riot shield.
In the days after Jan. 6, Gundersen posted on social media, stating, among other things, “we all stormed the us capital and tried to take over the government”
Gundersen was arrested on Jan. 25, 2021. He is to be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge, as well as a statutory maximum of eight years in prison for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Gundersen as #456 on its seeking information photos, and the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 22 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 275 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.