Two Louisiana Men Arrested on Felony and Misdemeanor Charges for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
WASHINGTON – Two men from Louisiana have been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges related to their conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Their 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.
Father and son, Willard Purkel Jr., 51, and Colby Purkel, 27, both of Covington, Louisiana, are charged with civil disorder, a felony, in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia. Additionally, both men are charged with misdemeanor offenses of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
The men were arrested today in Louisiana and will make their initial appearance in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Willard and Colby Purkel went to the east side of the Capitol building and joined a crowd of rioters who forcibly entered the Capitol through the East Rotunda doors. At approximately 3:07 p.m., a group of rioters were attempting to enter the Capitol through these doors while another group was attempting to exit. Law enforcement authorities attempted to shut the doors to prevent the rioters’ entry. Willard and Colby Purkel are accused of attempting to enter the Capitol by pushing against the authorities who then sought to close the doors.
At about 3:21 p.m., the East Rotunda doors were again opened as police tried to remove rioters from the building. As the doors were opened, the Purkels pushed their way into the building, streaming into the lobby outside the Rotunda. The Purkels then joined protestors to push against police officers attempting to prevent their entry into the Rotunda. Ultimately, the two men forced their way into the Rotunda.
Once inside the Rotunda, authorities surrounded the rioters and established control of the situation. Although the Purkels, along with other protestors, were escorted outside of the Capitol building the duo illegally remained on the Capitol grounds. While outside, Willard Purkel climbed atop an armored truck before walking with his son to the west side of the building. The Purkels and the rioters remained in this location as police attempted to clear the area.
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 Louisiana.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s New Orleans and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 34 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,200 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 400 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 tips.fbi.gov.
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 November 30, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-730