Indiana news stations WISH and WTHR have uploaded separate video reports on the arrest of ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer, who was taken into custody over the weekend in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. You can watch them below.
The musician, who resides in Columbus, Indiana, turned himself in to authorities around 3 p.m. Sunday (January 17), Chris Bavender, public affairs specialist for the FBI Indianapolis Field Office, said.
According to the FBI, Schaffer was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol police officers with "bear spray," a form of capsaicin pepper spray sold by many outdoors retailers, as part of their efforts to push the officers back inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol building themselves.
Schaffer was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying "bear spray" and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol police officers inside the Capitol building. Schaffer is seen holding what the FBI describes as "clear sunglasses" in one photograph, and "bear spray in other photographs."
These are the six charges Schaffer is facing, according to the FBI:
1) Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
2) Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
3) Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
4) Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
5) Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
6) Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building
On January 8, the FBI's Washington Field Office released 40 photos of people who were suspected of unlawful entry during a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol carried out on January 6 during the final Congressional vote recording for the 2020 general election. Among them was a picture of Schaffer taken by Roberto Schmidt of AFP. In the photo, Schaffer could be seen at the front of a mob, sporting a hat from Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia group, wearing black leather fingerless tactical gloves and pointing his finger while yelling at someone out of the frame.
Schaffer is believed to be one of at least 200 people who are being investigated by FBI officials over their roles in the insurrection. Additionally, the FBI has received roughly 140,000 digital media tips from the public.
While Schaffer has not yet said anything publicly about his involvement in the riot, his ICED EARTH bandmates put out a statement on Instagram and Facebook opposing the insurrection.
"We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building," they wrote. "We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions."
Last week, German daily newspaper Die Welt uploaded a video interview it conducted with Schaffer last November at a Washington, D.C. demonstration supporting Trump and protesting the 2020 presidential election results. In the chat, the 52-year-old musician said that "a group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago" and warned that "they're messing with the wrong people here. Because now we see you, and you're going down. Mark my words."
Schaffer also seemingly threw his support behind Trump, saying "he's not your typical Republican" and claiming that America's 45th president is "dealing with a criminal mafia that has been in the shadows running the world, frankly, for a very long time. They wanna destroy all of our sovereignty and bring about global government," he added. "We're not having it… It will not happen. There will be a lot of blood shed, if it comes down to that — trust me. The American people will not go for that bullshit — once they understand what's actually happening. So, that's where we're at. Nobody wants this, but they're pushing us to a point where we have no choice."