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Jan. 6 defendant charged with assaulting officers IDed with help of a forehead scar

Joshua Lee Atwood — known to online "sedition hunters" as "LeadPipeGuy" — assaulted officers with numerous objects, including a metal pipe, the FBI said.
The FBI identified Joshua Lee Atwood in this photo from the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The FBI identified Joshua Lee Atwood in this photo from the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

WASHINGTON — An alleged Jan. 6 participant charged with assaulting officers during the attack on the U.S. Capitol was identified with the help of facial recognition and a scar above his left eye.

Joshua Lee Atwood was known as “LeadPipeGuy” by online "sedition hunters," who identified him to the bureau back in 2021. Court records show the FBI arrested Atwood on Wednesday in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania; he was charged with assaulting law enforcement on Jan. 6, 2021.

A 10-year-old mug shot “included a ... scar on the left portion of ATWOOD’s forehead,” according to the FBI, which said it matched the scar to photos of Atwood outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Last year, Atwood was arrested in Pennsylvania in connection with an alleged armed robbery and assault at the Crazy Donkey restaurant in West Virginia. The Weirton Daily Times reported that Atwood "allegedly grabbed money from the cash drawer at the restaurant during the argument and attempted to flee, stabbing the victim in his arm on his way out while retrieving a dropped firearm." A patrolman involved in that arrest helped confirm the ID to the FBI, according to the bureau.

Court records show that Atwood's bond was set at $100,000 in that case before it was transferred to Hancock County Circuit Court. The Hancock County court told NBC News that Atwood was recently indicted in that case and has not yet entered a plea.

Videos compiled by open-source investigators and cited by the FBI show "multiple instances" of Atwood's "attacking law enforcement officers defending the Tunnel between approximately 4:51 p.m. and 5:03 p.m.," the bureau said. He appears to have thrown a bottle that struck an officer, a long silver pole that struck an officer, a small square object and another small object that appeared to be a bottle, according to the FBI. He also used a long wooden pole to "strike multiple officers using a stabbing motion with a significant amount of force" before he threw the pole, used a stolen police shield to strike another officer's shield and threw a metal pipe, the FBI said.

Joshua Lee Atwood stands in front of a broken window at the Capitol.
Joshua Lee Atwood stands in front of a broken window at the Capitol.U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

“F--- off, you guys are all pieces of s---,” Atwood said to law enforcement on Jan. 6 in a body-worn camera video cited by prosecutors. “Everyone of you should be ashamed of yourself. Every one of you mother f----ers are pieces of s---. Betraying your country like this, why would you betray your country? Do you love our country ... communist f---.”

More than 1,387 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, and more than 984 defendants have been convicted. More than 520 of the more than 859 defendants who have been have received periods of incarceration that from a few days behind bars to 22 years in federal prison. The overwhelming majority of Jan. 6 defendants in custody either admitted to their criminal conduct or were found guilty at trial; only 15 are in pretrial custody.

Atwood is far from the only Jan. 6 defendant charged with another crime after having allegedly participated in the Capitol attack. A Jan. 6 defendant who is charged with firing off a gun during the attack fatally stabbed a 19-year-old in a park but was not charged in that case after having claimed self-defense. Another Jan. 6 defendant, who the FBI says was just the fourth person to breach the Capitol, allegedly plotted to murder the FBI employees investigating him while he was out on bail and awaiting trial; he is set to go on trial in that case this year.