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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 25, 2022

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Attacks on Media and Law Enforcement Officers During Capitol Breach

Defendant Used Stun Gun Against Officers, Accosted Photographer

            WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to two charges stemming from attacks on law enforcement officers and a member of the media during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Alan William Byerly, 55, of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers and striking, beating, or wounding an individual on federal grounds.

            According to court documents, Byerly previously had purchased a stun gun, which he carried on Jan. 6, 2021, to a rally near the Ellipse, and, later to the Capitol grounds. He illegally entered the grounds and went to the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol, joining other rioters. At about 2:10 p.m., rioters pulled a journalist from the Associated Press – who was carrying a camera and wearing a helmet-style gas mask and a lanyard with Associated Press lettering – down a flight of stairs leading to the western front of the Capitol. Byerly watched the group that pulled the journalist down the stairs and a subsequent assault. Then, at the bottom of the stairs, he and three other individuals grabbed the journalist and pushed, shoved, and dragged him. Byerly grabbed the journalist with both hands and pushed him backwards. He then continued to push and drag him away from the stairs.

            A short time later, while still on the Lower West Terrace, Byerly approached law enforcement officers who had formed a line of bike racks to act as a barrier between themselves and the crowd. Byerly approached the officers, raised his right hand that held a stun gun, and activated the weapon. Officers successfully removed the stun gun from Byerly, but he continued to charge officers, physically striking and pushing them. He also grabbed an officer’s baton. His actions caused an officer to lose this footing and for the officer to fall and land on his hands.

            Byerly was arrested on July 7, 2021, in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. He is to be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison for assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers and one year in prison for striking, beating, or wounding an individual on federal grounds. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office and its Allentown Resident Agency and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Byerly as #193 on its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department

            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 tips.fbi.gov.

Updated July 25, 2022