Violent SC Trump supporter pleads guilty to assaulting officers in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

A 26-year-old Bluffton man who broke through police lines and assaulted law officers with a stolen police shield during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has pleaded guilty to various crimes.

Tyler Bradley Dykes, 26, of Bluffton, pleaded guilty on Friday morning in federal court in Washington to two felony counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and agreed that his use of a police riot shield constituted a dangerous weapon.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 19, 2024.

Dykes is the 20th of 26 South Carolinians arrested in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach to plead guilty to various crimes in the incident. Another man was found guilty after a trial. The cases against the remaining five people from the Palmetto State arrested in the riot are pending.

Dykes’ crimes carry a maximum prison sentence of up to eight years on each count, but federal prosecutors are looking at a maximum sentence of around five years, court records said.

Dykes, a supporter of former President Trump, had attended the “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and followed on social media the false claims that Democrats had stolen the election from Trump, court records said. He had traveled from Bluffton, a community in Beaufort County, with two friends on the previous day.

According to evidence in his case, Dykes was at the forefront of a mob that attacked the east side of the Capitol. He moved snow fencing and metal bicycle rack barricades with “AREA CLOSED” signs, allowing other rioters to more easily enter a restricted area, documents in his case said.

“On the east side of the Capitol, by approximately 2:05 p.m., the violent mob successfully pushed the outnumbered U.S. Capitol Police officers backwards from their posts near the bicycle rack barricades. Dykes was one of the people near the front of that mob, which forced officers to continue retreating backwards up the East Rotunda steps.

“Within minutes, hundreds of rioters had flooded and overtaken the platform area outside the East Rotunda doors, forcing the small number of officers all the way backwards. With their backs against the East Rotunda doors, the officers were attempting to prevent rioters from getting inside the Capitol building through those doors,” court records said.

Dykes went on to “push his way to the front of the mob in front of the doors, where he forcibly, voluntarily, and intentionally grabbed hold of one U.S. Capitol Police Officer’s riot shield,” court records said. He wrested the shield away, “leaving the officer off balance and vulnerable,” court records said. The shields are heavy, made of very hard plastic and are approximately five feet tall, according to court records.

Once inside the Capitol, Dykes was at the front of an angry mob who faced off against a line of Metropolitan Police Department officers who were trying to keep the mob from the floor of the U.S. Senate, according to court records.

The mob “was loudly and repeatedly chanting ‘Whose house? Our house!’ and then ‘You serve us!’ and Dykes, holding his stolen shield, was at the front and “forcibly, voluntarily, and intentionally pushed the line of MPD officers backwards,” court records said.

Dykes also has “potential ties” to domestic extremist groups and had pleaded guilty for “his illegal involvement” in the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., a complaint in his case said. Dykes has a felony conviction in Virginia for “burning an object with the intent of intimidating a person or group of people,” court records in his guilty plea proceedings said. Details on that charge were not immediately available.

Although Dykes wore a grey gaiter that covered his face during the riot, the FBI was able to identify him from tipsters, video and photographic evidence and his cellphone number, according to court records.

This story will be updated.