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Columbus native and musician Jon Schaffer faces 6 charges in Capitol riot

(WISH) – Indiana native and Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer faces multiple charges in connection to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The musician from Columbus, Indiana, turned himself in to authorities around 3 p.m. Sunday, the FBI confirms.

FBI Indianapolis on Sunday night said, “Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to Jan 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer 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.’”

Schaffer is charged with:

  • Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
  • Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
  • Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
  • Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
  • Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
  • Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building

Authorities say Schaffer was photographed and seen on surveillance video carrying “bear spray” and arguing with Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol. In images captured from the riot, Schaffer can be seen wearing a baseball cap that says “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.” The Oath Keepers described themselves as a militia of former law enforcement and military personnel.

According to a court filing, Schaffer attended the Nov. 14, 2020, Million MAGA March in Washington wearing the same blue sweatshirt he wore at the Capitol and during that march told a member of the press:

My name’s Jon Schaffer, I’m from Indiana. A group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago. And now they’re making their big move, and it’s not gonna happen. . . People need to wake up and snap out of the Matrix, because they’re going down. They made the move, they’re messing with the wrong people here, trust me on that. And we needed it to be open like this. Open fraud. Open theft. Because now we see you, and you’re going down, mark my words.

When asked about possible violence at the protest, Schaffer said, “if somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it. We don’t want that, but if
they bring it we’re going to respond to that, trust me,” according to the court filing.

The court filing says he went on to tell the press at the November march: “We’re not going to merge into some globalist, communist system, it will not happen. There will be a lot of bloodshed if it comes down to that, trust me. The American people will not go for that bulls–t once they understand what’s actually happening. So that’s where we’re at. Nobody wants this, but they’re pushing us to a point where we have no choice.”

After being photographed at the Jan. 6 riot, Schaffer was quickly identified as a member of the band Iced Earth.

In the days following the riot, Iced Earth bassist Luke Appleton posted a message from the band on social media condemning the riot and the violence.

We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days. 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.

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 US 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. Stu, Luke, Jake, Brent

Iced Earth was formed by Schaffer in 1985, according to the band’s website.