Musician Jon Schaffer, a guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth, has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly macing police officers with bear spray during the Capitol riots. Photos that appeared to depict Schaffer present at the Capitol emerged the same day as the violent siege on the building, but there was no official confirmation that it was him. He turned himself over to federal authorities on Sunday, after learning that he was wanted in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
According to a statement from the FBI, which was shared by PEOPLE, Schaffer "faces 6 charges, including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building." Authorities claim that "Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with 'bear spray.'" While it is considered non-lethal, bear spray is designated to stop aggressive bears from attacking, and therefore it is highly concentrated with irritant chemicals. At this time, it is not clear if Schaffer has gone before a judge to enter pleas for the charges against him. Additionally, his lawyer was said not to have been available for comment.
*Jon Schaffer, guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth, is arrested on 6 federal charges in Capitol riot.— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) January 18, 2021
*Charges include: physical violence in a Capitol building, disrupting conduct of gov’t & violent entry.
*FBI says he used “bear spray” on officers. https://t.co/WtMTgmjpq3 pic.twitter.com/pZvZINCcZG
Schaffer's Iced Earth bandmates do not appear to have issued a statement on his arrest, but they did issue a statement previously on the riot, as many were pointing out that it looked apparent that Schaffer was one of the rioters. "We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days," the band wrote in a statement shared on social media. "Some of you have been concerned by our silence, which we understand. We needed some time to properly process the information and find out some facts before we made a statement.
The statement added, "First and foremost we absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions. With broken hearts we are sending our love and compassion to everyone who has felt pain from the events on January 6th. We are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to the families of the lives lost that day." Finally, the band concluded, "There are really no proper words to console. Just know we are with you in your shock, grief and pain. Much love to you all."