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Rochester man faces federal charges in U.S. Capitol rioting

Jan 15, 2021

Federal prosecutors say the gray-bearded man in the center of the photo is Dominic Pezzola of Rochester
Credit U.S. Attorney's Office

A Rochester man has been charged in connection with the rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Federal authorities revealed on Friday that they’ve arrested 43 year old Dominic Pezzola on charges that include obstruction of a criminal proceeding, destruction of government property and being in a restricted area illegally.

The FBI said in a criminal complaint that it got a lead that included publicly available photos and videos of someone breaking a window at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, and that someone who was at the riot said that Pezzola, also known as “Spaz,” bragged about breaking the windows to the Capitol with a Capitol Police shield.

The FBI says that it also found a video posted to social media which shows a person who appears to be Pezzola, smoking a cigar inside the Capitol, and in the video, the individual states words to the effect of, “Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys. This is f------ awesome. I knew we could take this (expletive) over (if we) just tried hard enough.”

A DMV photo of Dominic Pezzola of Rochester.
Credit U.S. Attorney's Office

Pezzola is a 1995 graduate of Aquinas Institute.  Aquinas issued a statement which said its expectation is that its students “will embrace and foster Christian values,” and the school’s ultimate hope is that, “graduates will use these principles and ideals to guide them for the rest of their lives.”

Aquinas says that it does not condone actions that lead to violence and destruction, and it prays for all parties involved.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to keep Pezzola behind bars at this point saying that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

The hearing before Federal Magistrate Marian Payson was held via video on Friday. Through his attorney, Pezzola requested the proceedings be transferred to federal court in Washington, D.C.