Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer was arrested on Sunday (Jan. 17) after turning himself into authorities following his appearance on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list for his participation in the riot at the Capitol Building. A photo of Schaffer, taken inside the Capitol, captured him wearing an "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" hat. CNN now reports Thomas Caldwell, a leader of the far-right antigovernment group, has been charged with planning and coordinating part of the Jan. 6 attack.
The Oath Keepers is an extremist, conspiracy-laden group heavily comprised of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans, who claim to be defending the U.S. Constitution. Court documents indicate the Department of Justice charged 65-year-old Virginia based Caldwell, in part, with conspiracy.
"Records obtained from Facebook indicate that Caldwell was involved in planning and coordinating the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol in which [separately charges plaintiff] Watkins, Crowl and other Oath Keeper militia members participated," reads part of the filing.
It is not known if Schaffer was among the alleged group of eight to 10 rioters, all wearing Oath Keepers paraphernalia, who moved "in an organized and practiced fashion and force their way to the front of the crowd gathered around a door to the US Capitol," per CNN.
Schaffer, who is currently facing six federal charges and was seen wielding "bear spray" — a capsaicin-based aerosol deterrent designed to weaponize against hostile or aggressive bears —while inside the Capitol. The FBI alleges Schaffer was involved in a verbal altercation with police officers and was seen among a group of rioters who had deployed the aerosol deterrents against Capitol Police officers.
He turned himself into Hamilton County police Sunday afternoon (Jan. 17) in his home state of Indiana. Local news outlet Wish-TV has most recently reported the Iced Earth founder has since been transferred to Marion County Jail, where he will remain for the next week as he awaits an appearance before a U.S. magistrate. There is potential for Schaffer to be released on bail after that hearing takes place.
Earlier today (Jan. 19) it was reported that Schaffer's bands — Iced Earth and Demons & Wizards — were no longer listed on the Century Media Records webpage, the label home of both groups.
Repeated requests for comment from Century Media as this story continues to develop have gone unreturned.
Before the siege on the U.S. Capitol, Schaffer traveled to Washington D.C. to take part in a pro-Trump rally on Nov. 15, just over a week after the Presidential race was called for President-elect Joe Biden. Schaffer spoke with German news outlet Die Welt while at the rally. He was asked for his purpose for being there and his thoughts on potential for violence.
It is worth noting Schaffer's rhetoric aligns with some of the conspiratorial claims asserted by the Oath Keepers group, as detailed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The full transcription from the posted interview (via Blabbermouth) has been replicated in its entirety below.
My name is Jon Schaffer. I'm from Indiana.
A group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago. Now they're making their big move, and it's not gonna happen. And that's what it is. These are globalists. These are the scum of the earth. These are the criminals that are behind all the fraudulent fee on currency, they're behind all the wars, they're behind all the shit, they're behind divide-and-conquer tactics, behind the racial divide. It's all nonsense, it's all garbage.
People need to wake up and snap out of the matrix, because they're going down. They've made the move. They're messing with the wrong people here — trust me on that. And we needed it to be open like this — open fraud, open theft. Because now we see you, and you're going down. Mark my words.
If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there's a lot of us here that are ready for it. We don't want that, but if they bring it, we're gonna respond to that — trust me.
I think this goes beyond President Trump. President Trump is a populist. He's not your typical Republican. He's not establishment. He's not going out starting wars all over the place, like they do. Which is funny — where are all the Democrats that were anti-war?
There's so much hatred for Trump, it's just ridiculous. He's dealing with a criminal mafia that has been in the shadows running the world, frankly, for a very long time. They wanna destroy all of our sovereignty and bring about global government.
We're not having it. We can still do business together, the countries can still be at peace, but we're not gonna merge into some globalist, communist system. It will not happen. There will be a lot of blood shed, if it comes down to that — trust me.
The American people will not go for that bullshit — once they understand what's actually happening. So, that's where we're at. Nobody wants this, but they're pushing us to a point where we have no choice.