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Virginia man arrested, charged with attacking police with stick during Capitol riot

The FBI says Jonathan Mellis of Williamsburg, Virginia, assaulted Capitol Police during the insurrection on January 6.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A Williamsburg, Virginia, man repeatedly attacked Capitol Police with sticks and other objects during the Capitol riot on January 6, according to a new filing in federal court.

The FBI says Jonathan Gennaro Mellis, also known as “Jon Gennaro,” was captured on body camera footage during the riot assaulting police officers at the Capitol building.

“Mellis can be heard saying, ‘Knock their masks off,’ before the BWC shows Mellis’ hand – wielding the stick – come over the top of the first individual, striking at the officers who were protecting the entryway to the Capitol Building,” the FBI says in a statement of facts filed in the case. “Another video retrieved by law enforcement of that altercation clearly shows Mellis’ actions, and even further captures Mellis repeatedly striking and making stabbing movements towards the officers with the weapon in his hand. Mellis appears to be making at contact or attempting to strike the officers’ necks between their helmets and body-armor where they are not protected.”

The FBI says it received information from “multiple concerned citizens” shortly after January 6 identifying Mellis as a person seen in photographs from the event wearing a large white cowboy hat.

Investigators subsequently found Mellis’ public Facebook page, where, they say, he had posted numerous pictures of himself at the riot and comments about his participation.

“Don’t you dare try to tell me that people are blaming this on antifa and BLM,” one such post reads. “We proudly take responsibility for storming the Castle. Antifa and BLM or [sic] too [expletive]. They just burn your business down. We are fighting for election integrity. They heard us.”

According to the Associated Press, Mellis was taken into custody earlier this week at his Williamsburg home.

He faces preliminary charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer, impeding law enforcement, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, uttering threats on Capitol grounds and obstructing an official proceeding – the latter of which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years.

A pretrial detention hearing for Mellis was scheduled in federal court in Virginia for Friday afternoon.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.