A Jan. 6 rioter who sprayed police officers with bear spray and bragged “we stormed them and we took Congress” was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison Thursday, federal prosecutors said.
Sean McHugh, 36, was found guilty at a bench trial in April of obstruction and assaulting, impeding or interfering with law enforcement officers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., said.
McHugh, of Auburn, California, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release, it said.
Prosecutors said he “actively participated” in at least four attempts to breach perimeters police set up during the riot.
McHugh sprayed officers with bear spray that he took to the Capitol, wrestled with another officer and helped others in the violent mob to push a large metal sign into police officers, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
“In between these acts of aggression, McHugh used his megaphone to spew vitriol towards officers and to encourage other rioters to act against the officers,” prosecutors wrote.
McHugh’s attorney, Joseph Allen said that McHugh “made a heartfelt statement to the court today expressing remorse for his actions on January 6th” and that the 78-month sentence is below a sentencing guideline range.
Allen wrote in a sentencing memo that McHugh “is not a rioter nor is he an insurrectionist” and that his actions were not planned. McHugh maintains the use of bear spray was a spontaneous reaction after he saw his mother get hit by a projectile.
Prosecutors said McHugh took bear spray — which is more potent than the irritants designed to be used on humans — to the event and had said before Jan. 6 that he was going there to “storm Congress.”
After the riot, he said on Facebook, “we stormed them and we took Congress,” according to prosecutors.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com