**UPDATE**: According to the FBI, ICED EARTH's Jon 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 (see below) 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."
The article follows below.
ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer has been taken into custody in connection with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
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.
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office released the following statement regarding Schaffer's arrest: "Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to Jan 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer faces 6 charges including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with 'bear spray.'"
These are the six charges Schaffer is facing, according to the FBI Indianapolis Field Office:
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.
Washington, D.C., police officer Christina Laury said cops were being sprayed with bear mace — a significantly stronger version of pepper spray — as they held the line outside.
"Unfortunately, it shuts you down for a while. It's way worse than pepper spray," she recalled in an interview with CNN.
"It seals your eyes shut. … You've got to spray and douse yourself with water. And in those moments, it's scary because you can't see anything and have people that are fighting to get through."
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."
Back in 2009, Schaffer raised eyebrows when he launched his SONS OF LIBERTY project via an appearance on a radio show hosted by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
More recently, Schaffer voiced his controversial views on the coronavirus crisis during an interview with MetalSucks's "The Quarantinecast", claiming that COVID-19 is "a psychological warfare campaign on the people more than it is a serious pandemic." Implying that a shadowy cabal of elites is using a global crisis as a cover to profiteer and entrench their power, Schaffer said: "I think there's a lot more going on than meets the eye here — in fact, I know there is. Legitimate doctors and scientists are being censored and banned on YouTube constantly. It's unbelievable levels of fraud."
In a September 2020 Facebook Live chat, Schaffer said that he didn't trust his government. "I don't give a shit if it's an 'R' or a 'D' next to the name of the person," he explained. "You can't put your hope into one president or one person, or a mayor or a governor or whatever. You've gotta be out there and actively put pressure on these people, let 'em know you're paying attention. If you're not paying attention, they're gonna rob you and steal everything. Your freedom too. Not just your money. They're gonna steal your fucking freedom. 'Cause they're a bunch of sick control freaks."
Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to Jan 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer faces 6 charges including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with "bear spray."
— FBI Indianapolis (@FBIIndianapolis) January 18, 2021
Jon Schaffer from Central Florida metal band Iced Earth? pic.twitter.com/p7v2wRLWRJ
— Lars❄️#FBR??NEW account (@a_fly_guy_no) January 8, 2021
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