Retired Chicago firefighter pleads guilty to involvement in ‘Tunnel’ siege during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Joseph Pavlik, 65, pleaded guilty to felony counts of civil disorder and entering restricted grounds with a dangerous weapon.

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According to the FBI, this picture shows Joseph Pavlik of Chicago outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

According to the FBI, this picture shows Joseph Pavlik of Chicago outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Court records

A retired Chicago firefighter has pleaded guilty to his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Joseph Pavlik, dressed in a tactical vest, gas mask and helmet, carrying a chemical irritant spray, was among a group who forced their way through an entry to the Capitol known as “The Tunnel,” according to federal prosecutors.

That tunnel directly leads to “sensitive areas” and offices used by members of Congress. The attack on the Capitol forced Congress to halt the joint session at which members were certifying the Electoral College vote count of the 2020 presidential election — and according to court records, during that recess, members of Congress had been sheltering in place on the other side of the entrance.

Pavlik, 65, pleaded guilty to felony counts of civil disorder and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

He was captured on video struggling with a police officer, while also being “actively pushed into officers” as he made his way through the tunnel, authorities said. Pavlik was in the tunnel for about 20 minutes before an officer escorted him out, though video surveillance captured Pavlik on Capitol grounds for a nearly two hours overall, prosecutors said.

Pavlik retired in 2013 after 32 years with the Chicago Fire Department, CFD spokesman Larry Langford has said.

Federal authorities said Pavlik has connections to a militia group called the B-Squad, a subgroup of the Guardians of Freedom, which shares the ideology of the right-wing extremist group The Three Percenters. Pavlik also is associated with the Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, according to authorities..

He traveled from Illinois to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 with other B Squad members and stayed at a hotel before driving home Jan. 7, authorities said.

Under his plea agreement, Pavlik faces a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months, and a fine of $5,500 to $55,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1.

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