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College student charged with hitting officer during Capitol siege

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College student charged with hitting officer during Capitol siege
Grady Douglas Owens was charged with assaulting Metropolitan Police Department officer Christopher Boyle during the Capitol attack on Jan. 6. Photo courtesy of Justice Department

April 8 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a Florida college student with striking a police officer in the head with a skateboard during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.

The Justice Department said in a release that Grady Douglas Owens, 21, of Winter Park, Fla., was arrested Thursday after a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment the day prior charging the Full Sail University student with assaulting Metropolitan Police Department officer Christopher Boyle and with breaching the Capitol building.

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According to the statement of facts on the case, Boyle was among a group of police officers confronting a crowd at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol grounds when he was hit in the head with a skateboard, causing him to sustain a concussion and an injury to his pinky finger.

The assault was caught on camera, and FBI investigators found a clear picture of Owens that was published on the Twitter account of Sedition Hunters, an account run by a private citizen who is assisting law enforcement with identifying the thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol building in early January in a failed attempt to prevent the certification of election results confirming President Joe Biden's election win.

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With the picture from the Twitter page, investigators conducted an image search and identified Owens as the suspect through his Instagram account. Pictures included in the statement of facts show that Owens was wearing the same beanie in his profile picture that he was wearing in footage of him participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Investigators then located his Winter Park residence after his vehicle was found via a license plate reader parked in a parking lot at Full Sail University, where he takes music production courses, court documents state.

Owens made his initial appearance in court on Thursday, prosecutors said.

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