Armed MAGA rioter who brought hollow-point bullets to Capitol ordered to remain in detention
Courtesy US Justice Department

An Indiana man who allegedly carried a revolver to the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and hinted to the FBI that he wanted to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will remain in jail pending trial, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ruled on Thursday.

Faruqui issued the order on Thursday after holding a detention hearing two days earlier.

Mark Mazza was arrested by federal agents in Indiana in November, and faces 13 separate charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding; resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon; and unlawful possession of a firearm on Capitol grounds or buildings. If convicted, Mazza could face a maximum conviction of more than 100 years.

"This is the only case that I'm aware of where the defendant had a loaded firearm on the grounds of the Capitol," Faruqui said, explaining his order on Thursday. "The firearm was found in the same place where Mr. Mazza was in a scuffle with a police officer.... That in itself is enough to show prior planning to cause grave concern."

Mazza told the court on Tuesday that he hasn't had access to his medication in jail for four days, which made it hard for him to understand, but he said he wanted to go forward with the arraignment and detention hearing regardless. Mazza was represented by a private attorney during the hearing.

The government alleges that Mazza carried a Taurus revolver loaded with shotgun shells and cartridges containing hollow point bullets, which expand on contact and are significantly more lethal than regular bullets, when he entered Capitol grounds. According to the government, Mazza dropped or abandoned the firearm on the steps leading up to the West Front Terrace during a likely assault on a US Capitol police sergeant who defending the Capitol.

During his detention hearing on Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Tejpal S. Chawla told the court that Mazza has not been charged with assault on the officer at this point but the matter is still under investigation.

After losing or abandoning his firearm, Mazza allegedly entered the tunnel at the Lower West Terrace, where rioters fought a pitched battle against Metropolitan police officers attempting to prevent them from entering the building.

During the hearing, the government played video showing Mazza at the front of the crowd of rioters attempting to break the police line in the tunnel. The video showed Officer Daniel Hodges crying out in agony as he was squeezed between the doors. Narrating the video, Chawla told the court that it showed Mazza holding open the doors as rioters assaulted the officers with sticks, shields and other objects. “This is our f*cking house!" Mazza yelled. "We own this house! We want our house!

Chawla also showed the court footage from a scene that took place later in the battle that depicted Mazza swinging a baton at the officers.

Later, rioters dragged Officer Michael Fanone into the crowd, where he was tased. Chawla told he court that Mazza told investigators he assisted Fanone. Chawla said that while it's not exactly clear what Mazza was doing, the government has no evidence to dispute his account.

After returning to Indiana, the government alleges that Mazza filed a false report with a local police department asserting that his firearm had been stolen at a casino in Ohio. When agents raided Mazza’s house in Indiana in November, they found a baton issued by the Metropolitan Police Department, along with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than a dozen hunting knives and swords. Mazza told the agents he had several firearms, but had given them to his brother because he expected to be arrested.

According to the government’s motion for detention, agents interviewed Mazza as early as March 2021. During that meeting, Mazza reportedly said his only regret about the events of Jan. 6 was that he didn’t see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Never did get to talk to Nancy,” Mazza reportedly told the agents. “I thought Nan and I would hit it off.” He reportedly added, “I was glad I didn’t because you’d be here for another reason and I told my kids that if they show up, I’m surrendering, nope they can have me, because I may go down a hero.”

Gregory English, Mazza's lawyer, told the court that his client served in the US Army, adding that he was injured while serving on active duty and that he receives monthly disability payments from the Veterans Administration. English said that at the time of Mazza's arrest, he was facilitating a support group for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

English did not address the implied threat to Speaker Pelosi during his remarks to the court requesting that his client be released and allowed to return home to Indiana. English asked the court to consider "that this is a unique situation where the president of the United States called upon people to come to Washington. He lied to them by saying that the election was stolen, when, as far as I know, there's no evidence to support that. It essentially got out of hand.... It's a once-in-a-lifetime situation."

The government argued in its motion that Mazza is “highly dangerous and deserving of detention.”

“Before attending the riot, the defendant had armed himself with a firearm loaded with hollow point bullets and shotgun shells capable of causing serious injury, and his comment about Speaker Pelosi suggest he intended to commit serious bodily harm to the speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress,” Chawla wrote in the motion.