Illinois man accused of firing gun during Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol

CHICAGO — An Illinois man is charged with breaching a police line during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. and firing a gun into the air, according to federal authorities.

John Banuelos, 39, of Summit, is facing multiple felony charges in federal court in D.C., including civil disorder, entering or remaining in restricted grounds with a dangerous weapon and discharging a weapon in or on Capitol grounds. He’s also charged with a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

Banuelos, who is among more than 40 Illinoisans charged in the breach of the Capitol, made an initial appearance Friday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.

Banuelos was identified as in attendance during the Jan. 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally held by former President Donald Trump after losing the 2020 election, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois. Just before 1:30 p.m., he moved toward the front of a mob as police officers were trying to reestablish a police line with metal barricades.

Capitol building surveillance footage showed Banuelos pointing at police officers and kicking a barricade twice, according to the release. He walked back and through the crowd at the West Plaza for about half an hour, the document said, then used his body to push against officers to breach the police line, along with other rioters.

At one point, he raised his jacket to show a gun in his waistband, the complaint said. He then moved to the south side of the plaza and was part of a crowd that breached the police line, it said.

Just after 2:30 p.m., Banuelos is seen on the footage climbing scaffolding on the Inaugural stage, according to the release. The footage allegedly shows him waving to the crowd, pulling out the gun and firing two shots into the air.

Banuelos was among some 48 Illinoisans charged so far in the Capitol breach, an ongoing investigation that has been described by prosecutors as the largest criminal probe in the country’s history. In Illinois, those charged have included a Chicago police officer, a real estate broker, a tech company executive and a retired firefighter.

Nationwide, more than 1,300 people have been arrested in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on charges stemming from the Capitol breach, according to the U.S. Justice Department.