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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, August 5, 2022

California Man Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Assaulting Officers During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Sprayed Chemical Irritant at Officers

            WASHINGTON – A California man was sentenced today to two years in prison for assaulting law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. His actions 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 presidential election.

            Ricky Christopher Willden, 41, of Oakhurst, California, was sentenced in the District of Columbia.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Willden was illegally on the Capitol grounds, standing near the East Columbus doors to the Capitol Building. At approximately 2:35 p.m., he raised a small green cannister and sprayed U.S. Capitol Police officers with a chemical irritant. After spraying the irritant, he threw the cannister at the officers. Willden entered the Capitol Building at approximately 3:02 p.m. and remained inside for approximately 18 minutes.

            Willden later posted to Facebook, “I think they got the message from everyone of all ages.”

            Willden was arrested on June 30, 2021, in Oakhurst, California. He pleaded guilty on April 7, 2022, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers.  Following his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.

            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 California.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office and its Fresno Resident Agency. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 18 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 850 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 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

Updated August 5, 2022