A man from North Carolina who stormed the US Capitol While awaiting trial for shooting a teenager in the head, he was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for attacking police officers with a flagpole during the riot.
Matthew Jason Beddingfield, 22, was at large on an attempted murder charge in Johnston County, North Carolina when he joined the riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Outside the Capitol, Beddingfield gave a Nazi-style salute after attacking police officers with a pole attached to an American flag, federal prosecutors said.
According to a spokesman for the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, US District Judge Carl Nichols sentenced Beddingfield to three years and two months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.
Prosecutors had recommended Beddingfield’s sentence of three years and six months in prison pleaded guilty in February in one case: attack, resistance or obstruction of the police.
Bettenfield, then 20, who lives in Middlesex, North Carolina, traveled to Washington, DC with his father on Jan. 6 and attended then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally. They left the rally and split as they approached the Capitol with a crowd of Trump supporters.
In West Plaza, Beddingfield attacked police officers with a flagpole and threw a piece of the pole at an officer after it broke.
“Beddingfield then turned to the Capitol and made a gesture (one commonly associated with the Nazis) extending his arm and hand forward and at an upward angle.” wrote a prosecutor in a court filing.
After entering the Capitol, he along with other rioters attacked a group of police officers in a hallway. When he was hit with a chemical irritant, he was forced to retreat. Entering the office of then House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Beddingfield washed his eyes in a drinking fountain before exiting the building.
In August 2021, Beddingfield pleaded guilty to assault for the shooting and shooting of a teenager in a Walmart parking lot in North Carolina. Condition Field was sentenced to two years’ probation for the December 2019 shooting, which the teen survived.
“From publicly available interviews given by Bedingfield’s father, it appears that to begin with there was no argument that Bedingfield shot his victim, a 17-year-old Hispanic man. “The allegation appears to be that Beddingfield shot the victim after Beddingfield was robbed.” Assistant US Attorney Sean Murphy wrote in a filing last year.
An attorney for Beddingfield said the terms of his parole in the North Carolina case allowed him to travel to Washington for the Jan. 6 rally.
FBI agents found eight guns and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition when they searched the Beddingfield family home. Images found on Beddingfield’s phone included swastikas, Hitler memes and others glorifying white supremacist ideologies, prosecutors said. Messages on the phone indicate he harbored “deep resentments” toward black, Hispanic, Native American and LGBTQ people, according to prosecutors.
“In some messages and conversations,” Murphy wrote, “Beddingfield openly expresses his desire for members of these groups to meet a violent end, and in others he expresses a desire for said violence or death to be inflicted upon them.”
About a year after the riot, Beddingfield posted a message on Instagram that said, “I want to take back America and it’s okay if some of my people’s enemies get ‘hurt’ in the process.”
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 600 of them have pleaded guilty. More than 560 were convicted, with more than half receiving prison sentences ranging from three days to 18 years.