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Press Release

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Deputy U.S. Marshal with Hammer During Portland Protest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Texas man pleaded guilty today for assaulting a Deputy U.S. Marshal with a construction hammer during a July 2020 protest in Downtown Portland.

Jacob Michael Gaines, 24, pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

“We are very fortunate Mr. Gaines did not severely injure or kill the Deputy U.S. Marshal who confronted him outside the federal courthouse last summer. Assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon is a very serious crime and will be handled by our office accordingly,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“Anyone who assaults or tries to hurt a U.S. Marshals Service employee should expect to be charged. Mr. Gaines could have killed the deputy he struck with a construction hammer, and we’re grateful to the US Attorney’s Office for seeing this case through to its conclusion,” said Peter Cajigal, Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon.

“We’re pleased to see resolution following the violent acts committed at the Hatfield Courthouse last summer and hope this verdict can help set the stage for peaceful protest conduct in the future,” said Gabriel Russell, Assistant Director for Field Operations, Eastern Zone, Federal Protective Service.

According to court documents, at approximately 1:00am on July 11, 2020, Gaines was observed using a hammer to break through a barricaded entrance at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse. At the time, federal law enforcement personnel were staged inside the courthouse to protect the facility and respond to incidents. After Gaines drove a hole through the plywood barrier, Deputy U.S. Marshals exited the door to prevent him from trespassing into the closed building.

As the marshals were exiting the barricaded door, Gaines struck a Deputy U.S. Marshal three times with the hammer. The deputy deflected the blows to prevent serious injury, but in process was struck in the left shoulder, lower neck, and upper back. While being struck, the deputy managed to hold onto Gaines while other officers handcuffed him and placed him under arrest.

On July 12, 2020, Gaines was charged by criminal complaint with one count of assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon. Later, on July 16, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Gaines on the same charge. Gaines has been held in custody since his arrest the night of the incident.

Gaines faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on December 13, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Protective Service. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Updated September 8, 2021