Scar Tip Spurs Arrest of Jan. 6 Suspect Accused of Beating Cops With Pole

A Pennsylvania man was charged with attacking police officers with a wooden pole during the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol after being identified by federal law enforcement due to a scar above his left eye, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Joshua Lee Atwood, 31, from Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, was arrested Wednesday and charged with several felony and misdemeanor counts, including civil disorder and assaulting an officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

According to a release from the DOJ, Atwood is accused of attacking law enforcement officers defending the Lower West Terrace Tunnel at the Capitol while supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to forcefully enter the building while Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

Scar Tip Spurs Arrest of Jan.6 Suspect
Trump supporters clash with police and security as they try to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. After identifying a Pennsylvania man through an old mugshot, federal law enforcement charged…

Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Federal officers identified Atwood after receiving a tip that footage of the suspect taken on the day of the riots matched a public mugshot from 2011 when he was arrested in Pennsylvania. In both images, according to court documents reviewed by Newsweek, a matching scar can be seen on the left portion of Atwood’s forehead.

The DOJ said in its release that Atwood was captured on police body-cam footage and surveillance video “allegedly using a long wooden pole to strike multiple officers in a stabbing motion with a significant amount of force.”

“Atwood then momentarily pulled the pole back before striking another police officer on the top of the officer’s helmet by the face plate,” the DOJ wrote. “Atwood then pulled the pole back and threw it in the direction of police officers, hitting their shields and ricocheting off the south wall.”

The suspect was later seen in an open-source photograph outside the Lower West Terrace Tunnel entrance holding a police riot shield, which he allegedly used to strike the shield of another officer, authorities said. Atwood was also seen on police body-cam shouting statements at officers, including, “F*** off, you guys are all pieces of s***. Betraying your country like this, why would you betray your country?” according to the DOJ.

Atwood made his first court appearance in the Western District of Pennsylvania on Wednesday. He was also arrested in May 2023, charged with armed robbery and assault in a separate incident in West Virginia, according to a report from WTAE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It was unclear at the time of publication whether the suspect had retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

More than 1,387 people have been charged in connection to the January 6 attack, according to the DOJ’s release Wednesday. The suspects hail from “nearly all 50 states.” More than 493 have been charged with “assaulting or impeding law enforcement,” and the DOJ said the investigation into the Capitol breach “remains ongoing.”