FBI Arrests First Capitol Rioter to Breach Capitol Tunnel in Jan. 6 Riot

Brett Alan Rotella. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has arrested the first rioter who breached the tunnel on the lower west terrace, where some of the most brutal attacks on law enforcement occurred, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. 

Brett Alan Rotella, of Kannapolis, N.C., was charged with felony counts of obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers. He was also charged with additional misdemeanor counts. 

The FBI arrested Rotella on Tuesday. 

Rotella, who was wearing a red Trump beanie and carrying a flagpole, was among a mob that clashed with officers near the tunnel, eventually forcing them to retreat inside the Capitol. 

Rotella was shot with pepper balls, but he continued to advance, prompting what escalated into a fight that went on for hours. 

Rotella was among the leaders of a mob that clashed with police and participated in a “heave ho” effort with other rioters. 

So far, the FBI has arrested more than 1,100 people for their role in the Capitol riot. Of those, more than 350 were charged with assaulting or impending law enforcement. 

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