Washington Lawmakers, Political Officials Respond to Breach at Nation’s Capitol

U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session Wednesday to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

A federal grand jury has indicted a former member of the Washington National Guard on felony charges, alleging he broke into the U.S. Capitol with the insurrectionist mob last week and repeatedly punched a federal police officer.

Mark Jefferson Leffingwell, 51, of Seattle, was arrested last Wednesday inside the Capitol, and on Monday became one of the first people indicted after last week's deadly siege by supporters of President Donald Trump intent on disrupting Congress' certification of Joe Biden's election as president.

Leffingwell was charged in a criminal complaint last week with counts of assaulting a federal officer, entering or remaining in a restricted building and disorderly conduct. The indictment, handed up Monday, adds four additional charges, including a second assault count, violent entry into a Capitol building, being involved in an act of violence in a Capitol building, and felony civil disobedience, which carries a prison term of up to five years.

Leffingwell served in the Washington National Guard from 2005 to 2009 and deployed with the 81st Brigade to Iraq, a spokesperson for the Washington Military Department confirmed Tuesday. He was honorably discharged in 2009, she said.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, no one answered the door at Leffingwell's modest, light gray house about a mile north of Seattle's Wedgwood Elementary School, where an American flag fluttered at half-staff. The home's blinds were drawn and a holiday wreath still hung on the front door.

A short time later, a bespectacled man with tightly cropped gray hair holding a manila file folder told a reporter from the home's gravel driveway that Leffingwell wasn't there. "None of your business," the man responded, when asked when Leffingwell might be back.

Leffingwell was released on his personal recognizance to a third-party custodian — his wife — and is required to call into pretrial services on a weekly basis pending trial, according to a message conveyed by a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

Leffingwell's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

According to a statement of facts filed in federal court last week, Capitol Police Officer Daniel Amendola said he and other officers were attempting to form a barrier to prevent the mob from further entering the Capitol last Wednesday afternoon when he encountered Leffingwell, who tried to push past him.

"When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest," Amendola wrote. He and other officers were able to subdue and arrest Leffingwell.

"While in custody, but prior to being advised of his Miranda, Leffingwell spontaneously ... apologized to me for striking me," the complaint says.

Leffingwell is among multiple military veterans and service members reportedly under investigation for their roles in the Capitol insurrection, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

"At this point — the (Washington) National Guard is not looking into whether current/previous Guardsmen attended the events in D.C.," a spokesperson said Tuesday.

According to news reports, some veterans and active-duty members potentially could face military prosecutions for involvement in the deadly siege and at least two national veterans groups have announced they would purge any member found guilty in the attack on the Capitol.

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