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Pa. man arrested for pepper spraying police during Capitol attack

Pa. man arrested for pepper spraying police during Capitol attack
Samuel Lazar, 35, was arrested Monday in connection to sieging the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. Photo courtesy of Justice Department

July 28 (UPI) -- Authorities have arrested a Pennsylvania man they accuse of pepper spraying police as a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump sieged the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

The Justice Department announced in a statement Tuesday that 35-year-old Samuel Lazar of Ephrata, Pa., was arrested the day prior on federal offenses, including assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and engaging in physical violence.

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Authorities have arrested more than 535 people, including more than 165 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, on the day of Jan. 6 with a mob of people attacked the Capitol building in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities learned that Lazar participated in the attack via a tip received by the FBI from someone who has known the suspect for around 28 years and who saw pictures of him wearing tactical gear and on the Capitol grounds posted to his personal Facebook page.

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Following a review of video footage of the siege, FBI agents identified Lazar dressed in a camouflaged tactical vest, a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

At times, he was captured in footage wearing green ski goggles and his face was painted in camouflage. He also carried a red and white bullhorn, it said.

According to the court document, he approached the police barricade line on the West Front of the Capitol building among a mob of rioters assembled and attempted to pull on the bike racks law enforcement used to separate them from the building.

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On the West Front, Lazar also aimed a canister at police officers and fired an orange chemical irritant at them, it said.

"Footage from the body worn camera of the D.C. Metro Police Officer in front of Lazar ... shows that at approximately 1:13 p.m., Lazar walked along the police line, grabbed the bike rack and pulled it with his left hand in an attempt to remove it while discharging the chemical irritant from a canister in his right hand," the document said.

Police followed by directing him to get back before they deployed their own chemical irritant, which caused Lazar to retreat momentarily before returning and redeploying his chemical irritant toward the officers.

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In a transcription of a video recorded on the day, Lazar admitted to pepper spraying the police.

"They attacked the people. We have a right to defend ourselves," he said, according to the court document. "There's a time for peace and there's a time for war."

He then told an individual that "I was right at the front, on the tip of the spear, brother. That's where you gotta be."

On July 19, Paul Allard Hodgkins became the first person sentenced in relation to the attack on the Capitol, receiving eight months imprisonment.

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