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N.H. man was arrested on second floor of Capitol during Trump-inspired riot

The mob attacking the Capitol
The mob attacking the CapitolMatt McClain/The Washington Post

A Bridgewater, N.H., man was on the second floor of the Capitol during last week’s riot of President Trump’s supporters there and was among six people arrested by Capitol Police when they refused to leave, instead joined others shouting and cursing at officers, court records show.

Thomas R. Gallagher,61, faces two federal charges: violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and illegally entering the Capitol building or grounds “with intent to impede government business or official functions,” according to federal court records.

Gallagher hung up when reached by a Globe reporter by phone Wednesday and did not return messages left with him or a relative. It was not known if he has retained an attorney.

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He was arrested by Capitol Police around 3 p.m. on Jan. 6 and was initially told he would be prosecuted in the Washington, D.C., Superior Court. But last Friday, he was identified as one of list of 13 people federal officials said would be tried in federal court in D.C., according to court records.

Others on that list include the man who photographed himself sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office; two men seen carrying plastic zip ties while moving through the Senate chamber; and the man charged with bringing Molotov cocktails, some containing homemade napalm, and guns to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“The lawless destruction of the US Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation’s greatest institutions,” Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin for D.C. said in a statement last week. “We are resolute in our commitment to holding accountable anyone responsible for these disgraceful criminal acts, and to anyone who might be considering engaging in or inciting violence in the coming weeks.”

He said defendants “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Along with the 13 charged in federal court, another 40 are now facing charges brought by Sherwin’s office in D.C. Superior Court.

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According to a report filed by Capitol Police Officer Joseph Bruno, thousands of Trump supporters surrounded the Capitol around 2 p.m. on Jan. 6 as Congress was preparing to certify the electoral college victory of Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president.

Around 2:20 p.m., the rioters, following a speech by President Trump, broke through windows and doors and forced their way into the sprawling complex. Some 40 minutes later, Bruno joined other officers responding to a “disturbance involving several dozen people” on the second floor.

“I observed members of the crowd engage in conduct such as making loud noises, and kicking chairs, throwing an unknown liquid substance at officers, and spraying an unknown substance at officers,’' he wrote, adding that police ordered the people to leave in loud and clear voices.

It had no effect, Bruno wrote. “Instead they responded by shouting and cursing at the Capitol Police Officers. The crowd, which at the time was located on the upper level of the United States Capitol Visitor Center near the door to the House Atrium” included Gallagher and five others.

He wrote that Gallagher and the five others “were positioned towards the front of the crowd, close to the Capitol Police Officers who were responding, and to the officer who issued the order to leave. The six individuals, like others in the larger crowd, willfully refused the order to leave. "

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Gallagher and the five other people were arrested The five other were identified by federal officials as Cindy Fitchett, Michael Curzio, Douglas Sweet, Terry Brown, and Bradley Rukstales.

It was not clear when Gallagher will return to D.C. for his initial arraignment on the charges he faces, one of which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.