A Cherryville man pleaded guilty Friday to a felony charge of assaulting police for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The actions of 23-year-old Grayson Sherrill and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
Sherrill pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers on Jan. 6, 2021. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 1, 2023.
According to court documents, in preparation for his travel to the "Stop the Steal" rally, Sherrill purchased a Faraday bag in an attempt to prevent the government from tracking his location. On Jan. 6, 2021, before the rally ended, Sherrill and his co-defendants walked toward the U.S. Capitol Building.
As Sherrill approached the Capitol, Sherrill saw downed metal barricades and broken fencing around the Capitol building. Sherrill and his co-defendants made it to the West front of the Capitol, where Sherrill observed other rioters climbing scaffolding, scaling walls, and fighting with the police, including spraying chemical irritants and throwing objects at police officers. Sherrill witnessed police officers retreating from the rioters.
Sherrill and a co-defendant each picked up a metal pole that had been broken off from a metal bicycle barricade. They carried the metal poles with them throughout the remainder of their time on restricted grounds and inside the Capitol building, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
While standing in the crowd of rioters, a platoon of officers from the Metropolitan Police Department Civil Disturbance Unit, attempted to make their way through the crowd of rioters to the front of the crowd to protect the Capitol building. A mob of rioters initiated violent confrontations with those officers.
While other rioters pushed, struck, and wrestled with MPD Officers, including MPD Officer D.H., Sherrill stepped toward Officer D.H. and swung at the officer with the metal pole, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The officer attempted to catch his footing and adjusted his equipment after the contact with the rioters. While still carrying the metal pole, Sherrill entered the Capitol Building through the Senate Wing door eight minutes after the initial breach of the doors. He walked throughout the building, including in the Crypt and Rotunda. Sherrill and his co-defendants climbed on statues in the Rotunda while taking photographs of one another using their cellphones. Sherrill exited 34 minutes after his entry, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Two family members tipped off authorities that the Gaston County man was at the Capitol that day. They provided the FBI with screenshots of Sherrill, who wore a red "Keep America Great" hoodie participating in the insurrection, according to early reports.
After Jan. 6, 2021, Sherrill deleted videos from his cell phone that he took while at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Sherrill was arrested on March 1, 2021, in North Carolina. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison for assaulting law enforcement officers, as well as potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The case is being investigated by the FBI's Washington Field Office, which identified Sherrill as "#xxx" in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI's Charlotte Field Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 24 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 284 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Cherryville man pleads guilty to breach of U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6