California Man Convicted of Felony Offenses During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Carried Hammer While Illegally on Capitol Grounds
September 7, 2023
A California man was found guilty in the District of Columbia today of two felony offenses related to 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.
Eric Christie, 56, of Los Angeles, California, was found guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Dec. 1.
Evidence at trial showed, at approximately 1:55 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, Christie was identified on open-source video emerging from a group of people and running towards the front of the crowd as it pushed through a police line and barriers erected on the east side of the Capitol building. As the crowd made its way through the barriers and law enforcement officers, Christie was seen running past others in an effort to make his way to the front of the crowd moving towards the east side of the Capitol.
After pushing through metal barriers erected around the Capitol, the crowd rushed forward, causing Capitol Police officers to retreat up the steps on the East side of the building. In a publicly available video, Christie is seen running up the East side steps of the building as police officers retreat up the steps and attempt to hold a line. Christie is then seen holding a bullhorn in his hands, facing the crowd with his back toward the officers, and can be heard repeatedly stating, "This is our Capitol!" into the speaker.
Additional publicly available video depicted Christie at the base of the stairs on the east side of the Capitol, standing on a police vehicle. Evidence at trial showed that as rioters engaged in physical confrontations with police officers in an attempt to break through the security perimeter, Christie can be heard yelling, among other things, "Do it! Do it!" and "It's your Capitol!"
The government's evidence states that after reviewing these open-source videos, law enforcement authorities identified a claw hammer in Christie's possession which was tucked into the belt loop of his pants.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
This case is being investigated by the FBI's Los Angeles and Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 31 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.