‘Just kill me now’: Jan. 6 rioter who led initial breach at Capitol ordered back in jail
Courtesy of US Justice Department

A federal judge has revoked bond for a man who helped lead the initial breach of the US Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, after he reportedly threatened to kill himself and fled police, who later found an AR-15 assault rifle in his car, in Garner, NC earlier this month.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly issued a warrant for James Tate Grant’s arrest on Tuesday and directed the defendant to make contact with pre-trial services in the Eastern District of North Carolina to arrange his surrender.

According to charging documents, Grant and Ryan Samsel led a crowd of rioters up to a barricade at the entrance of the Pennsylvania Avenue Walkway at about 12:50 p.m. on Jan. 6 and started accosting US Capitol police officers. The government alleges that Grant began yelling at officers and then lifted the metal barricade and then shoved it into the officers, causing at least one officer to fall. As the officers attempted to re-erect the barricade, Grant and others reportedly overran them and forced the officers to retreat.

The mob that streamed towards the Capitol after the initial breach included dozens of Proud Boys, including Charles Donohoe, the president of the Piedmont North Carolina chapter, who is charged with conspiracy to corruptly obstruct the certification of the electoral vote, alongside fellow Proud Boys leaders Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean and Zach Rehl.

Samsel reportedly told law enforcement that Biggs ordered him to push down the barricades; Biggs has denied the assertion through his attorney.

Nine other Proud Boys in the mob, including Dominic Pezzola who is accused of using a stolen police riot shield to bash out a window at the Capitol building are charged in separate conspiracy cases. One of the defendants, Matthew Greene, has pleaded guilty and agreed to provide assistance to the government.

Video stills included in his charging document indicate that Grant eventually made it into a Senate office building, where he was filmed by live-streamer Tim Gionet aka Baked Alaska, who also faces charges related to the assault on the Capitol.

On Dec. 15, a grand jury handed down an indictment against Grant and Samsel, charging them with assaulting an officer with the metal crowd control barrier, along with nine other offenses.

Grant was out on pre-trial release at 5 a.m. on Dec. 7 when police in Garner, NC responded to a restaurant in response to a suicide threat, according to a motion filed by the federal government a couple days before Christmas. Grant was reportedly pulling out of the parking lot in a silver car and flagged the officer down.

“They probably called on me,” Grant reportedly told the officer, explaining that he was involved in the “January 6th incident.”

When the officer initiated a DWI investigation, Grant reportedly attempted to flee. Then, according to the motion, he dropped to the ground and said something to the effect of, “Just kill me now…. It’s over.”

Officers reportedly recovered an AR-15 assault rifle, 60 rounds of .223 ammunition, weapon accessories, and combat fatigues from Grant’s car.

Since his arrest on Oct. 14 on charges related to the assault on the US Capitol, Grant has reportedly tested positive for amphetamines on two occasions.

A month before his arrest, Grant was also charged with DWI and carrying a concealed gun in Wake County.

Federal prosecutors wrote in their Dec. 23 motion to revoke bond that committing crimes while on release creates a presumption that no conditions will assure that the person will not pose a threat to the safety of the community.

“He has abused the release privileges given to him by the court in several ways,” the prosecutors wrote. “He committed a crime by driving while intoxicated. He possessed a firearm (and not just any firearm — an assault rifle) and 60 rounds of ammunition and was carrying these items in his vehicle — despite being barred from doing so as a condition of his release. He initially tried to flee from law enforcement. He used prohibited substances. And he did all this while [he] had charges pending in Wake County for a very similar offense and while on federal supervision for his violent conduct at the US Capitol. Grant’s statements are of such a concerning nature that there is reason to believe he is a danger not only to the community, but also to himself.”