Williamsburg man accused of assaulting officers during U.S. Capitol riots arrested by Norfolk FBI

Jane Harper, The Virginian-Pilot
·2 min read

A Williamsburg man charged with storming the U.S. Capitol last month and assaulting law enforcement officers trying to protect the building was arrested Tuesday by agents from the Norfolk FBI office.

Jonathan Gennaro Mellis, also known as Jon Gennaro, was taken into custody without incident at his home in Williamsburg, FBI spokeswoman Christina Pullen said.

The 34-year-old is being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk. He’s scheduled for a remote bond hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

According to a criminal complaint filed last week and unsealed Tuesday, Mellis was captured on an officer’s body cam video swinging and stabbing a stick at law enforcement officers trying to protect the building’s west entrance.

Several photos included with the court document show Mellis wearing a straw cowboy hat and black quilted jacket just outside the entrance.

In one, he’s seen taking a long stick from another man. Another appears to show him standing on a raised area near the entrance, stabbing the stick in a downward motion at the officers dressed in riot gear below him, the complaint said.

In the last photo, he appears to be swinging the stick at an officer’s neck, between the man’s helmet and body armor, where he was not protected.

The officers in the pictures are wearing helmets with their plastic face shields pulled down. Mellis can be heard in the body cam footage saying, “Knock their masks off,” the complaint said.

After the riot, Mellis posted on his Facebook page about “storming the castle,” the court document said.

“We want a forensic audit of the vote. Simple,” the post said. “We will not go away. We will not surrender.”

Mellis, whom two tipsters told the FBI had been posting on Facebook with increasing frequency about the 2020 election and media coverage about it, also posted about his anger that Antifa and Black Lives Matter were being blamed for the attack, the complaint said.

“Don’t you dare try to tell me that people are blaming this on antifa and BLM,” the post said. “We proudly take responsibility for storming the Castle.”

Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, jane.harper@pilotonline.com