Athol man charged in U.S. Capitol riot 

  • Vincent Gillespie, of Athol, was arrested Friday morning by the FBI Boston Division in connection to his alleged assault of police officers during the U.S. Capitol Riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Gillespie allegedly rammed officers with a police shield and tried to pull an officer into the mob of rioters. FBI BOSTON

  • Vincent Gillespie, of Athol, was arrested Friday morning by the FBI Boston Division after allegedly assaulting officers during the U.S. Capitol Riot on Jan. 6, 2021 FBI BOSTON

Staff Writer
Published: 2/18/2022 4:08:25 PM
Modified: 2/18/2022 4:08:15 PM

ATHOL — In conjunction with the Athol Police Department, special agents and officers with the FBI Boston Division’s Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested an Athol man who allegedly assaulted law enforcement officers by ramming them with a police shield during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Vincent Gillespie, 60, a former resident of Greenfield and Easthampton, was taken into custody without incident in Athol on Friday morning and is charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; civil disorder; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; and related offenses and was scheduled to make his first appearance in U.S. District Court later in the day.

From at least 4:11 p.m. to at least 4:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, Gillespie was allegedly among rioters in the Lower West Terrance of the Capitol and engaged in pushing, shoving, yelling and fighting with law enforcement officers.

According to court documents, Gillespie made his way to the front of the pack of rioters, grabbed a police shield and allegedly rammed law enforcement officers while screaming “traitor” and “treason” at the police. Gillespie also allegedly grabbed an officer by the arm and attempted to pull him into the crowd, according to court documents.

In the aftermath of the riot, which sought to disrupt the Electoral College certification of the 2020 presidential election, the FBI sought the public’s assistance in identifying people involved through the scores of photos and videos taken during the attack. Gillespie was previously identified as “AFO-141” and, according to court documents, was identified by six witnesses in Athol.

The documents state a former neighbor of Gillespie, an American Automobile Association employee, three employees of the town of Athol —  where Gillespie “frequently” attended meetings and paid his tax bills at the Town Hall — and the manager of a local business all independently identified Gillespie.

Gillespie’s arrest brings the total number of people arrested by the FBI Boston Division in connection with the riot to 14, according to the Justice Department.

The 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.

In the 13 months since Jan. 6, more than 750 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 235 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the Justice Department.

The FBI continues to seek the public’s assistance in identifying people who made unlawful entry into the U.S. Capitol and committed other crimes on Jan. 6. The FBI asks those who have any information on individuals pictured at www.fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit an online tip at tips.fbi.gov.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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