ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) — An Upstate man was convicted on Monday of one felony and four misdemeanor charges related to his conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Derek Cooper Gunby, 43, of Anderson, was convicted by a jury on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding; four counts of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; four counts of disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
The U.S. Justice Department said his actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of Congress related to the 2020 presidential election.
According to evidence presented during the trial, Gunby drove from his home to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.
He posted a photo of himself that morning in fatigues traveling on the Metro, with the caption, “Up at Zero Dark Thirty to stop this steal.” Gunby attended the rally and afterward headed toward the Capitol building.
According to officials, Gunby entered the restricted grounds on the west side of the Capitol at about 2:15 p.m. and approached the northwest stairs while he recorded a narration on his phone stating, “I think that the building’s been breached. . . . We’re trying to head up and get in there.”
As he made his way up the northwest stairs, he continued to narrate the scene, “We’re on the Capitol steps… and we are trying to storm the Capitol building. We’re taking the country back. You don’t get to do this to my country and not suffer consequences.”
Gunby then made his way into the Northwest Courtyard, where he joined the crowd of rioters pushing their way into the Capitol building through the Senate Parliamentarian Door. As he moved closer towards the building’s entrance, Gunby explained, “We’ve got some breaches in the Capitol building… in which I’m about to go, because enough is enough… We’re depending on Mike Pence to do the right thing in certifying this vote? No.”
Gunby also encouraged other rioters in front of him to push their way into the Capitol building by shouting, “Push forward! Push forward!”
Around 2:58 p.m., Gunby entered the Capitol building via the Senate Parliamentarian Door and recorded video as he moved further into the building. Police positioned further down the hallway forced rioters out of the building.
At approximately 3:01 p.m., officers pushed Gunby and the rest of the rioters back out of the Senate Parliamentarian Door.
Immediately after his expulsion from the building, Gunby remained on Capitol grounds and made his way to the Upper West Terrace. From that vantage point, Gunby witnessed rioters and police clash below and joined in a “Police stand down!” chant.
He then moved closer to the Lower West Terrace Tunnel and recorded additional video of the confrontations between police and rioters. Gunby remained on restricted Capitol grounds for well over two hours.
Shortly after the riot, Gunby recorded a video while on the Metro where he spoke about the riot and why he believed it occurred. Gunby stated, in part, that “We all pretty much surrounded the Capitol. We are at a point now in this country where they are going to listen to us, they have to listen to us” and “If the American patriot wanted to storm this Capitol, take over this building, and take care of all of Congress in there, they could do it. They could do it…”
The FBI arrested Gunby on Aug. 10, 2021, in South Carolina. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman will sentence Gunby on March 1.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.
This case is also being investigated by the FBI’s Columbia and Washington Field Offices.
In the 34 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,200 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, including more than 400 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.