Former Marine Who Carried Tiki Torch at Charlottesville Rally Pleads Guilty in Capitol Attack

Tyler Dykes, a former Marine, pleaded guilty to assaulting officers during the Jan 6 Capitol attack. He had previously participated in the Charlottesville white nationalist rally. His guilty plea highlights ongoing efforts to hold rioters accountable.

author-image
Justice Nwafor
Updated On
New Update
Former Marine Who Carried Tiki Torch at Charlottesville Rally Pleads Guilty in Capitol Attack

Former Marine Who Carried Tiki Torch at Charlottesville Rally Pleads Guilty in Capitol Attack

Tyler Bradley Dykes, a 26-year-old former Marine from Bluffton, South Carolina, pleaded guilty on Friday to two felony counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers during the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Dykes, who carried a tiki torch at the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally, was arrested in July 2022 on a series of federal charges, including misdemeanors.

As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to request the dismissal of the other counts in the indictment during sentencing. Dykes faces a maximum penalty of eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. His sentencing is scheduled for July 19.

During the Capitol riot, Dykes wore a gray puffer jacket and neck gaiter. He was accused of forcibly stealing a U.S. Capitol Police officer's riot shield and using it to advance into the Capitol and impede the police line. Dykes broke through police barricades and was at the forefront of the mob that attacked the east side of the Capitol.

Prosecutors said Dykes was among a group of rioters who sought to push their way into the Capitol. He used the stolen riot shield to obtain leverage and forcibly push the line of Metropolitan Police Department officers backward. Dykes then entered the Capitol's Rotunda, still carrying the stolen shield.

Why this matters: Dykes' guilty plea highlights the ongoing efforts to hold individuals accountable for their actions during the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack. It also underscores the potential ties between those involved in the Capitol riot and extremist groups or ideologies, as evidenced by Dykes' previous participation in the Charlottesville white nationalist rally.

Dykes had previously served a prison sentence following a felony conviction in Virginia for "burning an object with the intent of intimidating a person or group of people," tied to his involvement in the 2017 Charlottesville torch-lit march. He is the 20th of 26 South Carolinians arrested in the Capitol breach to plead guilty to various crimes. Dykes acknowledged that his use of the stolen police riot shield against law enforcement was considered a dangerous weapon.

Key Takeaways

  • Tyler Dykes, 26, pleaded guilty to assaulting officers on Jan 6, 2021.
  • Dykes carried a tiki torch at 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally.
  • Dykes faces up to 8 years in prison for stealing a police riot shield.
  • Dykes is the 20th of 26 South Carolinians to plead guilty in Capitol breach.
  • Dykes' guilty plea highlights efforts to hold individuals accountable for Jan 6.