Rochester man charged in Capitol riot pleads not guilty


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dominic Pezzola, a Rochester man with Proud Boys ties who allegedly took part in the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, pleaded not guilty in federal court Tuesday.

He is charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and restricted buildings or grounds in connection to the violence that erupted in Washington D.C. on January 6. If convicted, Pezzola faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Pezzola was also indicted for conspiring to obstruct law enforcement and other charges in federal court in the District of Columbia.

MORE | Local attorney weighs in on case of Rochester man charged in Capitol riot

Federal officials say Pezzola broke a window at the Capitol with a riot shield, in believed to be one of the first breaches of the building. Authorities say he said he would have killed Vice President Mike Pence if given the chance.

He turned himself into authorities after FBI agents contacted his family members. Authorities say before he surrendered he was on the run, changing his appearance and turning off his cell phone.

This photo provided by the FBI shows Dominic Pezzola. The Department of Justice announced Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, two New York men identified as members of the Proud Boys have been indicted on federal conspiracy and other charges in the Jan. 6, Capitol riot. Pezzola and William Pepe were arrested earlier in the month on federal charges including illegally entering a restricted building. (FBI via AP)

After executing a search warrant at Pezzola’s residence, FBI agents discovered PDF files with detailed instructions for making “homemade firearms, poisons, and/or explosives.”

Officials say Pezzola previously attended a December 12 pro-Trump Proud Boys rally in Washington D.C. where there was four stabbings and the vandalism of a historic Black church. 

Pezzola was allegedly seen at the event with a T-shirt sporting the Proud Boys logo.

He was taken into custody in Rochester but is currently being held in Washington D.C.

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