Pennsylvania Man Sentenced on Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced on Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

            WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today for felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Peter J. Schwartz, 49, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 170 months in prison for nine felonies and two misdemeanors. Schwartz was convicted at trial, on December 6, 2022, of four counts of felony assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers using a dangerous weapon, one count each of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as misdemeanors of disorderly conduct and commission of an act of violence on Capitol grounds.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered 36 months of supervised release and a fine/restitution of $2,000.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 6, 2021, Schwartz and his wife Shelly Stallings, who pleaded guilty in August, traveled to Washington D.C. and were at the area of the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol Building. While at the front of the police line around 2:28 pm, Schwartz threw a folding chair at officers, later claiming to a friend that he “started a riot” by “throwing the first chair.”  He then stole MPD duffle bags full of O.C. spray canisters, which he distributed to other members of the mob, including his wife, so that they could deploy them against the police.  Wielding a large MK-46 canister and carrying a wooden tire thumper, Schwartz began indiscriminately spraying O.C. spray at any retreating police officers he could find.  Around the same time, co-defendant Markus Maly pushed through the crowd toward a group of police officers trying to escape up onto the inaugural stage and sprayed with his own O.C. canister.  Schwartz and Maly then followed officers up into the lower west terrace tunnel, where they were joined by defendant Brown and dozens of other rioters.  As the crowd heaved against the makeshift police line, co-defendant Jeffrey Scott Brown received an O.C. spray canister that was passed from Schwartz to Maly to Brown. Brown tried to use it but couldn’t figure out the nozzle. He passed it back to Schwartz, who appears to have shown Brown how to use it and passed it back. Brown then dove towards the front of the police line, spraying them with yet more OC spray.

            Schwartz was arrested on February 4, 2021, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

            The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Western District of Virginia, and the Central District of California.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Pittsburgh and Washington Field Offices, which listed Schwartz as #120 on their seeking information poster, with assistance from the Louisville Field Office, the Los Angeles Field Office, and the Richmond Field Office. Additional assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

            In the 27 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. 

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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