Hoosier metal guitarist seen in famous photo arrested in connection with Capitol riot

US Politics

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ind.–The FBI has confirmed Indiana native and metal guitarist Jon Ryan Schaffer has been arrested in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. Authorities said Schaffer turned himself in Sunday at 3 p.m.

Shortly after the riots that took place at the Capitol building on January 6, music publications began alleging that Washington D.C. police were looking for Jon Ryan Schaffer, guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Iced Earth.

On January 7, music news outlets like NME and Consequence of Sound reported that the man pictured in the photo by Roberto Schmidt of AFP used in the announcement by D.C. police was Schaffer, though not officially confirmed by authorities.

In Photograph #25 on the FBI Most Wanted page, the man alleged to be Schaffer is seen wearing a cap embroidered with the logo of the armed militia group Oath Keepers. 

Another January 7 article on Blabbermouth featured screen captures taken from Iced Earth singer Stu Block’s Instagram account that suggested his support of Schaffer’s alleged involvement in the Capitol riots. The Instagram post was later taken down. 

On January 12, Billboard Magazine reported fellow Iced Earth band members released a statement condemning the attack on the Capitol.

The statement, in part, read as follows:

“We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

Billboard reported Schaffer’s name was not attached to the statement.

Iced Earth was founded by Schaffer in Tampa, Florida in the 1980s and subsequently released 12 studio albums beginning in 1990.

Schaffer is an Indiana native born in Franklin, according to his Wikipedia page. He owned a model and figurine store called “Spirit of ‘76 Collectibles” on 17th Street in Columbus that was active in the early 2000s.

In July of 2020, Schaffer told MetalSucks that he left Florida in 1997 and “never looked back.” During the interview on the outlet’s Quarantinecast YouTube show, the outspoken guitarist said he believes the COVID-19 pandemic is “a psychological warfare campaign on the people.”

When asked about how Hoosiers were faring in quarantine, Schaffer said, “People have been out and about for a while. I think a lot of people didn’t really go along with the program here which, frankly, I appreciate.”

Schaffer traveled from Indiana to the “Million MAGA March” on November 15 according to an article in Germany’s Die Welt. In the accompanying video interview, Schaffer explained his views on the American political establishment.

“These are globalists, these are the scum of the earth. They’re going down. They’ve made their move and they’re messing with the wrong people here, trust me on that,” he said. “There will be a lot of bloodshed if it comes down to that. Nobody wants this, but they’re pushing us to a point where we have no choice.”

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