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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Arrested for Assaulting Law Enforcement with Weapon and Other Charges During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Threw Multiple Objects at Police in Lower West Terrace Tunnel; Struck Officers with Pole and Riot Shield

            WASHINGTON — A Pennsylvania man has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges, including for allegedly assaulting law enforcement officers with a weapon during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 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 2020 presidential election.

            Joshua Lee Atwood, 31, of Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with felony offenses of civil disorder; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers with a deadly or dangerous weapon; entering, remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and an act of physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

            In addition to the felonies, Atwood is charged with misdemeanor offenses of disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

            The FBI arrested Atwood today in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, and he made his initial appearance in the Western District of Pennsylvania. 

            According to court documents, a man, later identified as Atwood, was seen in police body-worn camera and open-source video footage attacking law enforcement officers defending the Lower West Terrace Tunnel between approximately 4:51 p.m. and 5:03 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. The Tunnel was the site of some of the most violent attacks against law enforcement that day.

            At approximately 4:51 p.m., open-source video footage allegedly shows Atwood picking up an object that appears consistent with a bottle from the ground and throwing it into the Tunnel at officers. The bottle was captured on body-worn camera footage as it flew into the Tunnel and struck an officer. Next, Atwood is seen allegedly throwing a long silver pole at the officers in the Tunnel. Capitol building closed-circuit television footage shows that the pole flew over the top of officers’ riot shields and struck an officer on the south wall. Moments later, an open-source video shows Atwood again throwing a small square object and another small object, consistent with a bottle, into the Tunnel.

            Court documents say that only moments later, Atwood is seen in video footage allegedly using a long wooden pole to strike multiple officers in a stabbing motion with a significant amount of force. Atwood then momentarily pulled the pole back before striking another police on the top of the officer’s helmet by the face plate. Atwood then pulled the pole back and threw it in the direction of police officers, hitting their shields and ricocheting off the south wall.

            At approximately 5:01 p.m., an open-source photograph shows Atwood outside the Tunnel entrance holding a police riot shield. Atwood then allegedly used that shield twice to strike the riot shield of another police officer. During the incident, Atwood can be heard on body-worn camera footage making several statements to the officers, including, “F— off, you guys are all pieces of shit,” and “Everyone of you should be ashamed of yourself. Every one of you m— f— are pieces of shit. Betraying your country like this, why would you betray your country. Do you love our country, or do you want civil… communist f—.” Moments later, Atwood again threw a metal pipe into the Tunnel, which first struck an officer’s riot shield, then hit an assisting officer’s head and neck.

            At some point, open-source photographs show that Atwood had joined other rioters in Senate Terrace Room 2—Mezzanine.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania provided valuable assistance.

            This case was investigated by the FBI’s Pittsburgh and Washington Field Offices. Atwood was listed as BOLO (Be on the Lookout) #229 in the FBI’s seeking information images. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department.

            In the 39 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,387 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 493 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit

            A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 17, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-330