US arrests 500th suspect in relation to Capitol riot

Shane Jason Woods becomes the 500th arrestee – and the first to be charged with assaulting a member of the media, law enforcement says.

A mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they have broken open as they storm the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021 [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

An Illinois man on Thursday became the first person charged for attacking journalists during the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, marking a total 500 people arrested in relation to the riot.

Shane Jason Woods, 43, of Auburn, Illinois, who also goes by the name Shane Castleman, was also charged with crimes including assaulting law enforcement and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building, the US Department of Justice announced.

Attorney General Merrick Garland touted the arrest in a statement on Thursday, noting that the department has now arrested 500 people who took part in the violence.

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of former US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

“We have now crossed the threshold of 500 arrests, including the 100th arrest of a defendant on charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer,” Garland said.

“This morning, we arrested our first defendant on charges that include assaulting a member of the news media.”

Five people died after the riot, including a Capitol Police officer.

“The Department of Justice will continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all January 6th perpetrators accountable,” Garland said.

According to court papers, Woods was recorded on video wearing a Trump baseball cap and Trump face mask while walking around in a restricted area at the Capitol, and assaulting a US Capitol Police officer, causing her to trip and fall to the ground.

Woods was also allegedly caught on camera targeting journalists who were filming the attack on the Capitol, and was among a larger crowd of people who “yelled inflammatory rhetoric” against the news media.

In one video, the FBI said, Woods can be seen “walking closely around a cameraman dressed in blue jeans and a blue jacket” and then tackling the cameraman to the ground.

“The manner of attack on the cameraman was very similar to the attack” on the US Capitol Police officer, the complaint said.

Rioters assaulted the Capitol to stop a joint session of Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in hopes of Trump continuing as commander-in-chief.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies