DOJ Charges Jan. 6 Shooter 3 Year Later, after Protestor Releases Footage – The Conservative


(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The FBI arrested on Friday a man who fired two shots into the air during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill uprising—but only after footage of the crime was released by a J6 protestor.

The Justice Department announced Friday that J6 shooter John Emanuel Banuelos made his initial court appearance that day to face charges of trespassing, felony civil disorder, and firing a weapon on Capitol grounds.

Banuelos was identified immediately after Jan. 6, 2021—featured on a Vice documentary flashing a handgun. The FBI had Banuelos on its radar by Feb. 4, 2021, according to charging documents.

However, footage of Banuelos firing his gun wasn’t released until last month by former West Virginia lawmaker and current congressional candidate Derrick Evans, who pled guilty to disorderly conduct and trespassing on Capitol grounds in March 2022.

According to Evans, Banuelos’s gunshots “started it all.” He contended that Capitol Police began firing teargas into the crowd right after the gunshots at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. All hell broke loose soon thereafter.

Other Jan. 6 researchers argued with Evans that the gunshots were fired after the rioting had already begun.

Either way, Evans said it’s highly suspicious that the FBI didn’t arrest Banuelos until after his footage was made public.

“Government had video of him shooting a gun on J6 for over three years, but they didn’t arrest him until I broke the story and it got national coverage. Most likely another Ray Epps situation,” Evans said Friday.

The FBI charging papers indicate that the FBI was monitoring Banuelos before Evans released his footage.

The FBI agent who signed an affidavit for the shooter’s arrest said he interviewed him in January about possible threats against federal agents. Banuelos had allegedly posted a video of himself with a semi-automatic weapon in response to a tweet of an FBI poster with his picture.

“In response to that post by ‘John Banuelos’ on X, your affiant interviewed BANUELOS during which BANUELOS denied intending to threaten anyone and claimed that many of his posts were done by artificial intelligence,” the FBI agent said.

“BANUELOS stated that any weapons seen in his posts on X were fake and/or done by artificial intelligence. BANUELOS agreed to refrain from posting any further threatening messages.”

Other than the Vice documentary, Banuelos was first in the public spotlight in February 2022, when news broke that he had been arrested in relation to a fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old in a Utah park in July 2021.

When he was arrested, he reportedly told police about his activities on Jan. 6.

“Man, should I just tell the FBI to come get me or what …?” Banuelos, 39, asked detectives, according to a transcript of the interview obtained by through a public records request.

“Do you have a warrant?” one detective asked.

“Probably,” he said. “I was in the D.C. riots.”

“On Jan. 6?” the other detective asked. “Did you go inside the Capitol?”

“Yeah, I went inside and I’m the one with the video with the gun right here,” Banuelos said.

Sedition Hunters, the group that is helping the FBI hunt down Jan. 6 prosecutors, has a file on Banuelos. One of the most interesting videos of him is from what appears to be the night before the rally, when he reveals his history of mental-health problems.

“Now I’ve got a purpose … Democrats just give you free stuff and they don’t tell you you’re crazy. How many hospitals have I been to? How many mental hospitals? Because I thought I had a problem … Now I’ve got to reprogram my brain and be humble … I’m willing to play my role. Are you willing to play yours?” he said in the video.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at



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