Pennsylvania Man Arrested for Assault on Law Enforcement during Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Organized ‘Shield Wall’ in Violent Attack on Officers in Tunnel, Coordinated with Others and Repeatedly Assaulted Police
A Pennsylvania man was arrested Friday for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Robert Morss, 27, of Glenshaw, is charged with federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States. Morss made his initial appearance in the Western District of Pennsylvania on June 11 and was ordered detained.
According to court documents and video footage, on Jan. 6, Morss was on the lower west terrace of the U.S. Capitol, where he led an assault on police and organized support from other rioters. In body-worn camera (BWC) footage, shortly after 2 p.m., Morss can be seen unsuccessfully trying to push through a fence separating the crowd from the Capitol while officers repeatedly asked the crowd to back up. As depicted in the BWC footage, after being asked to back up, Morss grabbed an officer’s baton and tried to rip it away. He is seen again attempting to rip items, including a metal fencing barricade and a helmet visor, from the hands of officers. At 2:57 p.m., Morss is visible in surveillance footage at the entrance of the tunnel to the Capitol. Morss is seen directly confronting officers, pulling against their shields and passing the stolen shields back into the crowd. Around 3:07 p.m., Morss yelled out, “Hey everyone with a shield, back up and organize! Make a shield wall! Organize right now and make a shield wall.”
Morss walked out of the tunnel around 3:14 p.m. and rejoined the crowd. At 3:48 p.m., he was captured on video near the archway entrance to the lower west terrace doors, where he and other rioters climbed through a broken window into the Capitol around 4:17 p.m. Video posted online shows rioters inside the room handing through the broken window furniture which other rioters used to attack officers guarding the lower west terrace doors. Morss can be seen around 4:30 p.m. inside the room and looking out after another window had been broken.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Morss as #147 in its seeking information photos, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police, with significant assistance provided by the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office.
In the 150 days since Jan. 6, approximately 465 individuals were arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, including over 130 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.
The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.