Feds Arrest Jan. 6 Rioter Who Allegedly Opened Door, Shouted 'Let's Go!'

Eric Gerwatowski, a 31-year-old New York man, has been arrested for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot, during which he allegedly opened a door to the Upper House of the Capitol that had been closed as Capitol Police attempted to secure it, before Gerwatowski allegedly yelled "Let's go!" to the crowd and led several rioters inside.

The Justice Department said Tuesday that he has been arrested on disorderly conduct charges, as well as disorderly conduct in a restricted building.

Over 725 people have been arrested for their involvement in the riot across all 50 states, the press release states, along with over 225 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

The statement of facts attached by federal investigators states that Gerwatowski allegedly opened a door recently closed by Capitol Police officers, encouraged other rioters to enter along with him and entered the building, leaving after about three minutes.

Investigators wrote that pictures of a man with long hair were among the several "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) notices issued to the public, and a man matching the pictures was later identified through two Instagram accounts, several videos from the Capitol on January 6 posted to YouTube and Twitter and multiple tips to the FBI tip line.

One of the tips included an alleged phone number for Gerwatowski, which the FBI subpoenaed to confirm, and also discovered GPS data that the mobile device using the number was at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Gerwatowski and other rioters opened the doors in view of two Capitol Police officers, who decided not to engage with them.

When the FBI interviewed one of the officers and asked why the rioters were not engaged with, the officer said he made the decision because he had recently come from another area of the building where Ashli Babbitt, another rioter, was shot, the report states.

The officer also said he was "exhausted, outnumbered, and had already been attacked and sprayed with several chemicals by rioters earlier in the day," according to the report.

In a video cited by investigators as another place Gerwatowski can be seen around the Capitol on January 6, he is asked why he is at the Capitol and responds that "the commies are trying to steal the country," and said he "100 percent" believed the election was stolen.

Another January 6 arrest was announced Tuesday as Matthew Beddingfield was arrested for similar charges to Gerwatowski in addition to charges related to assaulting officers. Beddingfield was out on bail for attempted first-degree murder for an alleged 2019 shooting at the time of the riot.

Update 2/8/2022 5:20 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional context from the Justice Department.

January 6 Rioter Disorderly Conduct Arrest
Another January 6 rioter has been arrested for opening a door to the Capitol and encouraging other rioters to enter with him, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Above, a large group of pro-Trump protesters stand on the east steps of the Capitol building after storming its grounds on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Jon Cherry/Getty Images