You are here

Justice News

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

Friday, September 23, 2022

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Officers With a Dangerous Weapon During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Threw Fire Extinguisher, Hitting Three Officers

            WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous 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 presidential election.

            Robert Sanford Jr., 57, a retired firefighter from Chester, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Sanford attended a rally at the Ellipse and then walked to the U.S. Capitol grounds, joining others who were gathered there illegally. At about 2:30 p.m., he was part of a group on the Lower West Terrace. While there, he threw a fire extinguisher at a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers, striking three of them in the head. He also threw a traffic cone in the direction of officers. He screamed in the direction of officers that they were “traitors.”

            Sanford was arrested on Jan. 14, 2021. He is to be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            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 Pennsylvania.

             The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.

             In the 20 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 870 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 265 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 September 23, 2022