Man charged after allegedly wearing varsity jacket during Capitol riot

Paulina Smolinski
·2 min read

A New York man was charged on Monday for his alleged role in the Capitol riot, and the FBI has his high school varsity jacket to thank. Brian Gundersen, 26, was identified after multiple people recognized the jacket from photos of the January 6 riot and contacted the FBI, according to court documents filed Monday.

Photos and videos from the riot show a man wearing a varsity jacket from Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York, with a number on the left sleeve, according to a statement of facts accompanying the criminal complaint.

One of the first people to contact the FBI was the police chief in North Castle, New York, who said multiple people in the town recognized the jacket, the statement of facts said. The chief allegedly later identified Gundersen as the man wearing the jacket.

A photo of the person in the jacket that appeared on CNN.  / Credit: The Dep
A photo of the person in the jacket that appeared on CNN. / Credit: The Dep

When the FBI searched for Gundersen's name in its tips database, authorities found multiple tips that showed pictures of Gundersen wearing the jacket on other occasions, including in a photo with Tomi Lahren, according to the statement.

A person close to Gundersen told the FBI that he was "an avid supporter of former President Trump," the statement said. The person allegedly said the pair traveled from Pennsylvania to D.C. together but were separated the day of the riot. The person said Gundersen later claimed he "walked around the halls but was never violent while inside the Capitol."

When he was interviewed by the FBI, Gundersen initially denied going into the Capitol building but admitted that he was the person wearing the Byram Hills varsity jacket, the statement said. In a subsequent interview the same day, Gundersen allegedly admitted to going inside the Capitol Building but said he was "pushed into the building by the crowd" and stayed there for approximately 10 minutes.

An FBI phone analysis found messages written by Gundersen on January 5 stating he and others "might be able to bum rush the [W]hite [H]ouse and take it over," according to the statement. He's also accused of texting "Look at these scared little b******" alongside a photo of Congress members taking cover during the attack, and writing,"We all stormed the us capital [sic] and tried to take over the government" in the days that followed the attack.

Phone records also showed that Gundersen conducted a google search for "pelosi's office" on January 6, the statement said.

On January 13, Gundersen allegedly messaged someone a photo of himself wearing the Byram Hills varsity jacket shown on CNN and said, "They might have found me."

Gundersen faces charges including knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in Capitol buildings.

Clare Hymes contributed reporting

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