Chicago-area CEO and suburban tattoo artist among those arrested at Capitol
Bradley Rukstales, 52, of Inverness was arrested by the Capitol police and David Fitzgerald, 48, of Roselle was arrested by the Washington Metropolitan police.
The CEO of a Schaumburg-based technology company and a west suburban tattoo artist are among those charged with unlawful entry of the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s riot, police officials said.
Bradley Rukstales, 52, of Inverness, was arrested by the Capitol Police and David Fitzgerald, 48, of Roselle, was arrested by the Washington Metropolitan police. Fitzgerald also was charged with a curfew violation.
Rukstales is the CEO of Cogensia, according to the firm’s website. He gave $5,000 to Trump’s campaign in October and is a regular contributor to Republican candidates and committees, according to the Federal Election Commission.
In a statement Thursday night, Rukstales apologized for his actions. “In a moment of extremely poor judgment following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside,” he said.
“My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so,” Rukstales said. “I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington.”
Rukstales’ company put a statement on its Facebook page saying, “We have been informed that our CEO, Brad Rukstales, participated in the recent Washington, D.C., protests. Mr. Rukstales’ actions were his own; he was not acting on behalf of the company nor do his actions in any way reflect the policies or values of our firm. He has been placed on leave of absence while we assess the situation.”
Fitzgerald could not be reached for comment. His wife, Jeanette, said her husband, a disabled veteran, never went into the Capitol building itself.
“I have no idea why he went there,” she said of the Trump rally.
The first known federal charges stemming from the riot were unsealed Thursday afternoon in a court in Washington, laying out an official account of the chaos that interrupted the Electoral College vote count.
Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s spokesman, Joseph Fitzpatrick, said, “Should we determine there is a legal nexus between the crimes committed at the Capitol and our jurisdiction here in Illinois, we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible.”
Criminal complaints against Mark Jefferson Leffingwell and Christopher Michael Alberts were the first to be unsealed in the federal court in D.C. Each contained a description of the moment when Vice President Mike Pence and members of the House and Senate were told to evacuate their chambers.
The documents said that at about 2 p.m. “certain individuals in the crowd forced their way through, up, and over the barricades and officers of the U.S. Capitol Police, and the crowd advanced to the exterior facade of the building. … Individuals in the crowd forced entry into the U.S. Capitol, including by breaking windows.”
The joint session of Congress was suspended until shortly after 8 p.m.
“Vice President Pence remained in the United States Capitol from the time he was evacuated from the Senate Chamber until the session resumed,” according to the complaints.
The complaint against Leffingwell says he attempted to push past police officers inside the Capitol. When they stopped him, he allegedly punched a Capitol Police officer “repeatedly with a closed fist.” The officer was allegedly struck on a helmet and in the chest. Officers then took Leffingwell into custody, it said.
The complaint also said “Leffingwell spontaneously apologized for striking the officer.”
“When told that the officer who Leffingwell had struck was me, Leffingwell apologized to me for striking me,” the complaining officer wrote.
The complaint against Alberts alleges he was identified using a Maryland driver’s license. It said that, following the declaration of a 6 p.m. curfew in D.C., a Metropolitan Police officer was escorting people past a police line at 7:25 p.m. and noticed “a bulge on Alberts’ right hip.” It said Alberts was also wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a backpack.
When the officer told colleagues Alberts had a gun, he allegedly tried to flee but was caught by officers. The complaint says Alberts had a handgun with one round in the chamber and a full, 12-round capacity magazine, along with a second spare magazine. Officers said he also carried a gas mask and his backpack contained a pocket knife, a military “meal ready to eat” or MRE, and a first-aid kit.
On Thursday, Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C., said “all options are on the table” for charging members of the mob — including sedition charges. Sherwin said prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases for crimes including unauthorized access and theft of property, and investigators are combing through reams of evidence to bring additional charges.
“All of those charges are on the table. We will bring the most maximum charges we can,” he said.
More than 90 people have been arrested by police in Washington and more arrests are likely. U.S. attorneys from across the country have vowed to find and bring to justice any residents who participated in the insurrection aimed at thwarting the peaceful transfer of power.
Experts say some could face the rarely used seditious conspiracy charge. It’s the same charge former Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department told prosecutors to consider levying against those who caused violence at protests last summer over the killings of Black Americans by police.
Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who stepped into the top Justice Department job when Barr resigned last month, told prosecutors in a memo in September that they should consider the use of seditious conspiracy charges against violent demonstrators, saying “it does not require proof of a plot to overthrow the U.S. government despite what the name might suggest.”