Illinois man accused of dousing cops with hornet spray during Jan. 6 attack on US Capitol

CHICAGO — An Illinois man was arrested Thursday on charges he doused police with hornet spray and used a baton to break out windows during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol nearly three years ago.

William Lewis, 57, of Burbank, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with felony counts of assaulting law enforcement and misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct.

He was arrested Thursday morning and is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate judge at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. It was not immediately known if he had hired a lawyer.

Lewis is at least the 42nd Illinoisan to be charged in the Capitol breach, an ongoing investigation that has been described by prosecutors as the largest criminal investigation in the country’s history.

According to the charges, surveillance images showed Lewis, dressed in all black with a U.S. Army star logo and American flag on his sleeves, in the middle of a violent mob fighting with police outside the Capitol.

Body cam footage from several Capitol police officers showed Lewis holding up a black and yellow canister of No-Pest Wasp and Hornet Killer and deploying the contents toward the police line, the complaint alleged.

One officer who viewed the footage told the FBI he “remembers a white male wearing all black spraying something at him from a big canister,” and that the officer “experienced a burning sensation on his face and in his eyes as a result of being sprayed,” according to the complaint.

The footage then showed Lewes throwing the empty can toward officers, the complaint alleged.

Afterward, Lewis advanced to the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol building, where a stage was being constructed for the upcoming presidential inauguration, according to the complaint.

There, Lewis “used what appears to be a baton to strike and break at least three glass panes of a window located immediately to the right of the Lower West Terrace tunnel,” the complaint stated.

Lewis was allegedly identified in 2022 by two people who recognized him from an FBI page dedicated to trying to identify suspects in the Capitol attack.

More than 1,200 people have been charged as part of the investigation into the U.S. Capitol attack, including arrests in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Of the 42 Illinoisans charged so far, Lewis is one of about a dozen to be hit with felony charges alleging they engaged in violence that day.