A Placentia man seen walking through the U.S. Capitol building with hundreds of people who stormed in more than three years ago seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election was arrested this week, according to court documents.
FBI agents arrested Shawn Schaefer, 51, on Wednesday, Jan. 17 on five charges related to his actions during the 2021 attack on the Capitol, an event that had been hyped for months among supporters of former President Donald Trump as he pursued illegitimate claims he actually won the election over Joe Biden.
Schaefer was accused of entering a restricted building and attempting to impede government business.
Federal records showed he was in custody Thursday, Jan. 18, but booking information was not available; nor was information for an attorney who may be representing him.
In a criminal complaint filed in a federal district court in Washington, D.C. last week, a special agent working for the FBI’s L.A. field office investigating domestic terrorism cases said Schaefer was spotted on security cameras walking with a large crowd and taking photos inside the Capitol building “for less than two minutes.”
According to the complaint, an associate of Schaefer who traveled with him to D.C. identified him to the FBI as part of a plea deal. The associate was not identified in the complaint. Portions of the identification of the associate were redacted from the complaint.
Schaefer and the other person had planned since Dec. 28, 2020 to travel to the Capitol to be there for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, according to the complaint.
In text messages, the pair discussed buying small radios to stay in touch with each other once they got to the rally. They also met on Jan. 4, 2021, the day before their flight.
The day of the attack, the agent said, Schaefer entered the Senate wing of the Capitol building through a fire door just before 3 p.m. He packed into a narrow hallway with dozens of others bearing flags and wearing gear showing their support for Trump.
That was about 40 minutes after elected officials inside were ordered to evacuate, suspending the certification of the election for nearly six hours.
While he was in the hallway, Schaefer held up a phone, appearing to record what was happening. He briefly entered the office of the Senate’s parliamentarian, before police pushed Schaefer and everyone else in the hallway outside.
In the complaint, the agent further tied Schaefer to the rally after finding an account on Parler, a social media network, under the name “QPatriot420” that used a selfie Schaefer took of himself near the Washington Monument in front of a crowd of Trump supporters. The agent said Schaefer’s email and phone number were both associated with the account.
The agent interviewed Schaefer at his home in Placentia on March 28, 2023. The agent said Schaefer admitted to attending the Trump rally, then walking with the crowd to the Capitol building before they went inside.
Schaefer told the agent he left the building after “seeing a ransacked office,” according to the complaint.
“People could get in trouble for this,” the agent quoted Schaefer as saying in the interview.
An arraignment hearing for Schaefer had not been scheduled as of Thursday.
At least two dozen Southern California residents have been arrested, and many convicted, for traveling to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and participating in the assault on the building.
Ex-La Habra police chief gets 11-year sentence for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot
List: Southern California residents accused or convicted in the Capitol insurrection
Josh Cain www.ocregister.com Crime and Public Safety,News,Capitol Breach,courts,Top Stories OCR
2024-01-19 02:37:13 , Orange County Register