Man accused of firing gun from scaffolding during Jan. 6 Capitol riot arrested

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Illinois man accused of climbing scaffolding and firing a gun in the air during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was arrested Friday.

John Banuelos, 39, of Summit, Illinois, was charged with several felony and misdemeanor counts, including firearm charges. No attorney or working phone number was immediately available for him.

Prosecutors say he was part of a mob that forced back police officers on Jan. 6 and eventually made his way to the front of the crowd. He kicked a metal barricade and yelled at officers before simulating firing a gun toward officers with his hand. He eventually breached the police line with the crowd.

Banuelos was captured on camera footage scaling the scaffolding that had been put up for the inaugural stage and waving the crowd toward him. He pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband and fired two shots into the air before climbing down and rejoining the crowd, prosecutors said.

Someone reported him to the FBI in February 2021 after seeing his photo on a website for people wanted in connection with Jan. 6, according to court documents. Investigators confirmed his identity after he replied to an online post of his wanted poster with a video that appeared to show him racking the slide of a gun.

He told an agent that many of his posts were done by artificial intelligence and any weapons were fake, but interviewing him allowed the FBI to match him with photos from the riot, according to court documents.

More than 1,300 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 750 of them have pleaded guilty. Nearly 200 more have been convicted after trials decided by a judge or jury. More than 800 have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving a term of imprisonment ranging from a few days to 22 years.