CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A now-suspended Citadel Cadet who admitted to participating in the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and later discussed joining the Russian army faced sentencing Wednesday.
Elias Irizarry, who was a freshman at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty in October to Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds. The maximum sentencing and fine for the charge are one year and $100,000 respectively. Irizarry also agreed to pay $500 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol.
Prior to sentencing, the United States Government asked the Department of Justice to sentence Irizarry to 45 days incarceration, 12 months supervised release, 60 hours of community service, and $500 restitution.
The sentencing memo referenced Irizarry’s “menacing” behavior, noting that he “carried a metal pole through the Capitol grounds and building… used the metal pole to wave rioters toward the Capitol building and wielded the pole as he occupied rooms inside the Capitol where rioters violently assaulted officers.” The memo said that “Irizarry’s actions demonstrate a certain brazenness and intentionality” that should be considered in sentencing.
“Here, the Court is presented with a rioter-defendant who witnessed signs of violence
outside the Capitol building, encouraged other rioters to get closer to the building, entered the
building through a broken window, carried a metal pole with him throughout the Capitol, entered a sensitive space, and did all of this despite his military training,” the memo read.
Once inside, Irizarry and his friends took photos of each other throughout the building, climbed on statutes, and rode elevators.
Photographs recently released in a sentencing memo from the U.S. Government show Irizarry sitting in a private conference room, Senate Room S145. According to the memo, those who entered private spaces on January 6 posed a more severe threat than those who remained in public areas “because of what invading the office of a member of Congress represents: a show of intimidation and an attempted display of power, above and beyond entering the building.”
After just under 30 minutes, the group left the building but remained on Capitol grounds.
Irizarry admitted to sitting on a police car parked outside the building, and one of his friends admitted to “[hitting] a police officer on the officer’s helmet,” according to his statement of guilt.
The sentencing memo also revealed alarming details about Irizarry’s actions after January 6, including that he apparently deleted data on his phone, was determined to find out who turned him in, and considered more treasonous behavior.
“After Irizarry was arrested, he did not show remorse but rather was determined to figure out who “backstabbed” him by “turning him in” to authorities. Irizarry discussed via text message how the FBI found out that he went inside the Capitol and who turned him in. Between late January and early March 2021, Irizarry also exchanged text messages with co-defendant Bishai about joining the Russian Military if they were not permitted to remain in the U.S. Military due to the “FBI Stuff.” After January 6, Irizarry and Bishai also participated in a group chat titled “Civil War” and discussed using small planes to cross borders undetected. Irizarry’s concerns after January 6, which ring a far cry from remorse, highlight the need for specific deterrence.”
The Citadel suspended Irizarry in December of 2022.
Sentencing is expected sometime Wednesday afternoon.
Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.