Chicago plumber pleads guilty to charges in Jan. 6 riot

James ‘Mac’ McNamara, 61, threw a punch at a D.C. police officer and rammed Capitol doors with a bike rack.

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Supporters of then-President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Supporters of President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riot as of March 2023.

Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

A Chicago plumber Monday pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

As part of a plea deal, 61-year-old James “Mac” McNamara admitted to throwing a punch at a D.C. Metro police officer and using a metal bike rack to ram the north doors of the Capitol as officers struggled to keep rioters from entering the complex.

Federal authorities have identified this man as James McNamara of Chicago.

Federal authorities have identified this man as James McNamara of Chicago.

FBI

McNamara, who was identified by authorities from video of the attack, turned back only after officers sprayed him in the face with pepper spray and, later, shot him with a rubber bullet, according to an admission filed with his change of plea.

Law enforcement later identified McNamara, who was nicknamed in online images as “#RailMixer.” The object McNamara used to ram the Capitol doors is identified in court documents as both a “railing” and a bike rack.

Still images included in the complaint show McNamara swinging his fist at a Metro police officer and apparently battering the doors — as well as a picture, taken from his plumbing company’s Facebook page, showing a smiling McNamara leaning on a water heater.

In the plea agreement, prosecutors say McNamara is eligible for a sentence of two years to 30 months in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on a single count of assaulting a federal officer. His sentencing is set for Aug. 11.

According to a criminal complaint, law enforcement officials had identified him by comparing video images to his driver’s license photo and contacted his “known associates.” In June, McNamara’s lawyer contacted the FBI after investigators had contacted some of McNamara’s known associates. The lawyer said McNamara wanted to talk about “his involvement in the events of Jan. 6,” according to the complaint.

At least 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot as of March, and half had pleaded guilty, and another 53 were found guilty at trial. Aurora resident James Elliott, a member of the Proud Boys, is set for sentencing Tuesday.

McNamara’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Sun-Times.

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