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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Texas Man Found Guilty of Felony and Misdemeanor Charges Related to Capitol Breach

Defendant Watched Members of Congress Evacuate, then Participated in Breaking the Windows of the Speaker’s Lobby Door

            WASHINGTON – A Texas man was found guilty in the District of Columbia today of felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions 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.

            Christopher Grider, 41, of Eddy, Texas, was found guilty of a total nine charges including three felonies. Grider pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building prior to the start of trial. He was found guilty, following a bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings. Sentencing is scheduled for May 23, 2023.

            According to the evidence introduced at trial, Grider entered the scaffolding on the northwest terrace of the Capitol with a crowd of rioters who had pushed through a police line. He then obtained a bike rack and used it to climb to the terrace stairs, and then proceeded up the terrace stairs – at one point, stopping to wave rioters toward the Capitol. Once inside the Capitol, Grider found an electric utility box and pressed buttons as he yelled “Turn the power off!” He then proceeded to the Crypt, where he was part of another group of rioters who pushed through a police line. After taking a picture of a map of the Capitol, and exclaiming, “We gotta get into the Chamber!,” Grider proceeded to the hallway outside of the House Chamber, where he waved more rioters in. After this group of rioters pushed through the police line that stood between the mob and the House Main Door, Grider stood with other rioters directly outside of the House Main Door, as they attempted to get inside the House Chamber. He offered his black helmet up after other rioters yelled, “Use your helmet! Use your Kevlar,” and “Knock the windows out with Kevlar!”

            Grider then ran from the House Main Door to the Speaker’s Lobby Door, where he watched members of Congress and staff evacuate on the other side. He gave his helmet to another rioter, knocking on it apparently to demonstrate its hardness, and pushed on the door.  The rioter proceeded to use the helmet to break the windows in the door.

            Within seconds, Grider was observed backing away from the Speaker’s Lobby door as other individuals were screaming, “gun.” The officer on the other side of the door subsequently fired a single gunshot that struck and killed a woman. After the shooting, police ordered rioters to move away from the scene. Grider remained and could be seen leaning over the railing to get a better glimpse of the woman bleeding on the floor. Grider was holding his phone over the stairway appearing to capture a video or pictures of the woman.

            Grider was arrested on Jan. 21, 2021, in Austin, Texas.

            The obstruction charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years’ incarceration, while the civil disorder charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and the destruction of property charge carries a statutory maximum of ten years in prison. The misdemeanor charges carry the following statutory maximums terms of incarceration: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, one year; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, one year; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, one year; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, six months; act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, six months; parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, six months. Fines and/or restitution could also be imposed. The Court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 23 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 275 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.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
22-468
Updated December 21, 2022