Virginia man arrested for assaulting law enforcement during Capitol breach

(Architect of the Capitol)
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC (WDBJ) - A Virginia man has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges, including assaulting law enforcement, for his alleged actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

The breach disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to count presidential electoral votes.

Lewis Wayne Snoots, 59 of Louisa, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with felony offenses of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and civil disorder. Snoots is also charged with several misdemeanor offenses, including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.

Snoots was arrested Tuesday in Virginia and made his initial court appearance in the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court documents, United States Capitol Police (USCP) surveillance footage shows a man, later identified as Snoots, entering the Lower West Terrace Doorway (the “Tunnel”) leading into the U.S. Capitol building, wearing what appears to be a gas mask on top of his head, says the US Attorney’s Office. Snoots is then seen approaching the established police line in the Tunnel and moving forward and backward with the nob of rioters as part of an attempt to overwhelm and breach the police line. Snoots is then seen pressing against a USCP officer’s riot shield in an attempt to prevent police from pushing the mob of rioters out of the Tunnel, according to prosecutors.

At about 3:17 p.m., Snoot is observed passing USCP riot shields back over his head and back to the mob of rioters, according to the US Attorney’s Office. At 3:18 p.m., another rioter, Albuquerque Head, proceeded to drag Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone out of the Tunnel. Snoots observed Officer Fanone as he was restrained and dragged out of the Tunnel, and as Snoots moved closer to Officer Fanone, Snoots proceeded to grab Officer Fanone by the upper back. Snoots continued to grab Officer Fanone by the upper back as the officer was further dragged away from the Tunnel and other law enforcement officers.

Court documents say then, Snoots used both his hands to physically restrain Officer Fanone while other rioters assaulted him. Open-source video depicts Snoots as he grabbed Officer Fanone’s right hand and pulled Officer Fanone’s right arm away from his body, which appeared to “significantly hinder and impair Officer Fanone’s ability to defend himself against the continuous assaults by other rioters,” says the US Attorney’s Office.

Snoots made a statement later that evening, according to the US Attorney’s Office, which appeared in a video posted to social media. In the video, Snoots states, “I’m fed up with it, everybody is fed up with it. They have tear gassed our ass off of the Capitol steps, but it’s not over. What they don’t understand is it’s just starting. Every political a****** up in that place is now going to have a target on their back everywhere they go.”