KC man who took mom to Capitol on Jan. 6 and confronted police in tunnel pleads guilty

A Kansas City man who took his mother to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and participated in a concerted “heave-ho” movement against a police line during the riot pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstructing officers during a civil disorder, a felony.

Kyle Kumer, 43, entered the guilty plea at a hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Carl J. Nichols set his sentencing for May 17.

The violation carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release.

Kumer is the 28th Missouri resident of the 36 charged to date to plead guilty in connection with the Capitol riot.

He was charged in June with civil disorder, a felony; and three misdemeanors — entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; and impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings. The three misdemeanors were dropped as part of his plea agreement.

A statement of offense Kumer signed as part of the plea agreement said that by at least 2:30 p.m. on Jan 6, he and his mother were on the West Plaza of the Capitol building. Barricades had been removed and dozens of officers were trying to contain the crowd, it said.

Over the next 20 minutes, the two worked their way up to the Lower West Terrace and onto the inaugural stage set up for President Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration. While there, Kumer joined in chants of “Whose House? Our House!” while pumping his fists in the air.

Around 2:56 p.m., it said, Kumer and his mother made their way through the mob on the Lower West Terrace and approached the entryway to the tunnel leading into Capitol. As he entered, it said, he held his phone over the crowd and appeared to take a photo of the scene, which included the police line.

At about 3:08 p.m., as the two moved further into the tunnel, the crowd began to push in unison against the police line.

“Kumer turned his body so that his back was pushing up against the rioters between him and the police and began to push against them. As he pushed, Kumer called out, “Let’s go! C’mon! Let’s go!” to the rioters around them to encourage them to join the push against the police.”

Many rioters left around 3:10 p.m., the statement said, but Kumer and his mother stayed. About a minute later, Kumer joined in another group push was launched against police.

“This group push effort caused MPD Officer D.H. to be crushed between the crowd and the door,” it said. Kumer and his mother continued to remain in the tunnel, even though many exited, leaving them ample space to get out.

Kumer joined in another group push around 3:16 p.m, the statement said, and about two minutes later police succeeded in pushing them back to the tunnel entrance. Kuer and his mother were among the last rioters to be cleared from inside the tunnel, it said.

“While in the area immediately outside the entrance to the tunnel, Kumer observed MPD Officer M.F. being dragged into the crowd,” the statement said. “He was also nearby when Officer M.F. was rescued and returned to the tunnel by his fellow officers. Kumer also observed another rioter rip a stolen U.S. Capitol police shield out of the hands of a nearby police officer as he stood near the entrance of the tunnel.”

While the statement gives only the officer’s initials, the number on his helmet in a photo included with the charging documents is the badge number of Michael Fanone, who was beaten, tased and robbed of his badge, police radio and 17-round magazine as rioters tried to remove his gun from its holster. Fanone suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury from the assault.

The probable cause statement filed with Kumer’s charges said that after the riot, the FBI received two tips saying Kumer was at the Capitol that day. One tipster was a relative who said Kumer had posted photos and video from the Capitol on his Facebook page but took them down a few days later. The tipster gave authorities screenshots taken from Kumer’s Facebook page that discussed his experience at the Capitol, along with a video of the Lower West Terrace.

Around Nov. 17, 2021, the affidavit said, authorities interviewed Kumer at his home in Kansas City. Kumer admitted he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and showed them videos and photos taken on his cellphone. He also admitted to entering the tunnel and helping the crowd push against the police line, it said, but denied entering the Capitol.

“Kumer claimed he was pushing against the crowd to protect his elderly mother from injury,” the affidavit said. “Kumer stated he brought his elderly mother to the tunnel to fully experience the moment.”

At the time of his arrest, Kumer was on the staff at Northland Church KC, according to the church’s website. But after the charges were made public, his photo in a section called “Meet Our Team” had been removed.