Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer has been arrested in connection with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. Schaffer was photographed inside the Capitol with other rioters.
According to WISH TV, Schaffer turned himself in to authorities at 3pm on Sunday, January 17.
Local D.C. police authorities listed him as a "Person of Interest", and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (that's the FBI) had recently put up a post in their "Most Wanted" section, and the photo of Schaffer is among those listed.
Fans of Schaffer also began demanding refunds for his Kickstarter campaign for Wicked Words & Epic Tales, which is "a collection of Jon Schaffer’s lyrics, interviews and a chronicle of the artwork that they inspired."
No word on what Schaffer has been charged with yet.
German newspaper Die Welt recently published video footage of Schaffer marching in a separate November Trump protest, who offered almost prophetic words on what would end up happening a few months later.
The video captures Schaffer wearing the same 1776 hoodie he was photographed in during the Capitol riots, and features him wearing a vest with a black and white photo of Trump photoshopped on the Terminator 2 bicycle, with a shotgun and the phrase "Drain the Swamp" on it.
According to WISH-TV, ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer made his first court appearance on Monday (January 18) and will remain in jail until at least Friday (January 22) in connection with his role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Schaffer turned himself in to police in Hamilton County and has since been moved to the Marion County Jail. In the coming days, he will go in front of U.S. magistrate, who could release him on bail.
The musician, who resides in Columbus, Indiana, turned himself in to authorities around 3 p.m. Sunday (January 17), Chris Bavender, public affairs specialist for the FBI Indianapolis Field Office, said.
According to the FBI, Schaffer was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol police officers with "bear spray," a form of capsaicin pepper spray sold by many outdoors retailers, as part of their efforts to push the officers back inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol building themselves.
Schaffer was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying "bear spray" and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol police officers inside the Capitol building. Schaffer is seen holding what the FBI describes as "clear sunglasses" in one photograph, and "bear spray in other photographs."
These are the six charges Schaffer is facing, according to the FBI:
1) Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
2) Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
3) Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
4) Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
5) Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
6) Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building
We’re not even a month into 2021, and already, a metal musician has made history.
Unfortunately, that musician is Iced Earth guitarist and founder Jon Schaffer, and the way he made history was by participating in the seditious pro-Trump siege of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. The attack resulted in multiple deaths, including one police officer (so much for “Back the Blue”).
Schaffer, who may or may not be part of a right-wing militia called the Oath Keepers, was identified within hours of the riot when a photo clearly showing his face started making the rounds. On January 17, the guitarist turned himself in to authorities in his native Indiana. He has since been extradited to Washington, D.C., and now faces the following six charges:
“Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority” “Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business” “Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds” “Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building” “Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building” “Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building” Meanwhile, his bandmates in Iced Earth remain mostly quiet, presumably either because they approve of Schaffer’s actions or because Schaffer is their boss and they wanna keep their jobs.
Similarly, Iced Earth’s longtime label, Century Media, has removed them (as well one of Schaffer’s other projects, Demons & Wizards) from both their current and former artist roster webpages. But when MetalSucks asked the label to comment, they declined to make any sort of official statement confirming that they’re no longer working with Schaffer. (If Schaffer had tweeted something offensive, the label would’ve dropped him faster; if he was credibly accused of certain crimes without photographic evidence, they’d have dropped him faster.) So either they haven’t formally dropped Schaffer from the label, or they don’t wanna alienate Schaffer’s supporters.
As far as motivations for being on the wrong side of history go, none of those are great for the band or the label. But they are thought-provoking, because they pre-suppose that Jon Schaffer’s recent actions aren’t actually going to end his career.
Before I continue, let me address the idea of “cancel culture.” I think the entire concept is a little hazy, but I get that there are a lot of people who believe MetalSucks is in favor of “canceling” those we find ethically noxious.
In a new TV report from Indiana station WISH-TV (seen below), it was revealed that Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer had not voted in a presidential election since 2008. However, Schaffer was the only one of the four Indiana men facing charges in last month's U.S. Capitol Riot who did vote in the 2020 election.
The station revealed the voting records of all four men, who have all been charged with storming the Capitol. The riot occurred as Congress was meeting to certify the electoral college's election results that would officially name Joe Biden as the 46th president. President Trump had repeatedly claimed voter fraud after the initial election results, but over 60 lawsuits to overturn the election results had been thrown out by the courts.
According to the TV report, Schaffer had not voted in the 2016 where Donald Trump was elected the U.S. president. You can watch the full report below.
Word of Schaffer's involvement in the riot surfaced on Jan. 6, as the musician was photographed wearing an "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" cap. Not long after, Schaffer was sought as a "person of interest" by the Washington, D.C. police and the FBI added Schaffer to their "Most Wanted" list while seeking information about his role in the insurrection.
On Jan. 17, the FBI confirmed that Schaffer had turned himself in to authorities in Indiana. A day later (Jan. 18), it was confirmed that the musician had been charged with six federal offenses.
In the "statement of facts" document, it was stated, "Schaffer was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol Police officers with 'bear spray,' a form of capsaicin pepper spray sold by many outdoors retailers, as part of their efforts to push the officers back inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol Building themselves. Schaffer was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying “bear spray” and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol Building. Schaffer is seen holding a clear sunglasses in one photograph, and bear spray in other photographs."
Schaffer was eventually turned over into the custody of the U.S. Marshals service. The musician is expected to have the remainder of the legal proceedings in his case take place in Washington, D.C.
ICED EARTH singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton have announced their departure from the band.
Earlier today (Monday, February 15), Stu, the Canadian-born vocalist who has fronted ICED EARTH since 2011, issued the following statement via his social media: "Hey All, Well, there are times and events when you have to take stock and re evaluate your life, work, and trajectory for the future. That being said I have informed Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH guitarist and leader] and his current management that I must announce my resignation from ICED EARTH with immediate effect.
"Before I made any personal decision I needed the last few weeks to process the situation as well as respect others in our camp processing the situation. I thank you all very much for respecting this. It's the best decision in many ways for my personal/ professional growth going forward. Time to move on, heal and prosper.
"Much love and respect to you all. Don't fret! Stay tuned for some exciting things to come! Time to embark upon a new chapter. Be good to each other."
Appleton, who joined the band in 2012 and played on the "Plagues Of Babylon" and "Incorruptible" albums, issued a separate statement saying: "In response to recent events & circumstances, I have notified ICED EARTH's management and Jon that I will be resigning as the ICED EARTH bassist with immediate effect.
"I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their support and love during this difficult time. Thank you!!!"
Block and Appleton's resignations from ICED EARTH come a month after Schaffer was arrested for his role in last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol. The 52-year-old musician, who resides in in Edinburgh, Indiana, is facing six federal criminal charges after he was accused of spraying a police officer with a pepper-based bear repellant during the January 6 insurrection.