Two Men Charged With Obstructing Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
One Defendant Accused of Using Aerosol Spray on Officers; Both Were Among First to Get Past Barricades
WASHINGTON — Two men have been arrested and charged with crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
James Haffner, 53, of the Rapid City area of South Dakota, is charged in a criminal complaint with assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, civil disorder, and other offenses. Ronald Loehrke, 30, of Gainesville, Georgia, is charged in the same complaint with civil disorder, among other charges. Haffner was arrested on Dec. 1, 2021, in Pennington County, South Dakota, and made his initial court appearance later that day in the District of South Dakota. Loehrke was arrested today in Cumming, Georgia, and made his initial court appearance today in the Northern District of Georgia. Both were released pending further proceedings.
According to court documents, as of Jan. 6, Loehrke was residing near Seattle, Washington. Prior to Jan. 6, the court documents state, he engaged in text-message communications with Ethan Nordean, also of Seattle, a member of the Proud Boys organization who is charged separately in relation to the events of Jan. 6. In one text, Nordean told Loehrke that he wanted him on “the front line” with him. Loehrke responded with “Sounds good man,” and indicated that he would bring others with him. Additionally, prior to Jan. 6, according to court documents, Loehrke was in contact on repeated occasions with a cellphone that has been linked to Haffner. Nordean has been indicted on conspiracy and other federal charges.
In the early afternoon of Jan. 6, Loehrke and Haffner marched with a group along Constitution Avenue NW, towards the Capitol. Nordean was at the front of the group. Shortly after 1 p.m., Loehrke and Haffner joined a crowd that had overwhelmed a pedestrian gate and advanced toward the Capitol building, dismantling barricades along the way. Both were among the first to get past various barricades on the west side of the Capitol building. At one point, Loehrke shouted, “Don’t back down, patriots!”
Loehrke and Haffner moved to the east side of the Capitol and participated in dismantling and moving police barricades that protected the restricted area on that side of the building. Both defendants then climbed the stairs on the Capitol’s east side and headed to the Columbus Doors. Once there, Haffner raised his hand and sprayed an aerosol substance at U.S. Capitol Police officers who were trying to guard the doors. Shortly after Haffner sprayed officers, rioters breached the doors and entered the Capitol. Once inside, Loehrke is captured on video and still photos in a confrontation with police and also inside a Senate office.
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 Offices for the District of South Dakota and the Northern District of Georgia.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Rapid City, South Dakota Resident Agency of the Minneapolis Field Office, and the Gainesville Resident Agency of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, with assistance from the Baton Rouge Resident Agency of the New Orleans Field Office, and the New Orleans Field Office.
In the 10 months since Jan. 6, more than 675 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 210 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.
The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.