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Feds fight to keep gun-toting Capitol rioter behind bars

Mark Mazza carried a loaded handgun and assaulted police with a baton on Jan. 6, later telling investigators that, if he had seen House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “you’d be here for another reason.”

WASHINGTON (CN) — A 56-year-old man awaiting trial for assaulting police with a baton on Jan. 6 and bringing a loaded firearm to the Capitol asked a federal judge to let him out of the jail where he has been detained since his November arrest. 

Mark Mazza, from Indiana, carried a .45 caliber revolver that was loaded with shotgun shells and hollow-point bullets, which expand on contact and are much more lethal than regular bullets. At one point, Mazza dropped the firearm — likely during an assault on law enforcement — and then went to the Lower West Terrace doorway, pushed police, and assaulted officers with a baton. 

“This is our fucking house!” Mazza yelled. “Get out of the people of the United States’ way!”

Mazza joined a crowd yelling “heave ho!” as they pushed against a line of police officers, at the same time Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges was being crushed in between two doors. 

Mazza then drove back to Indiana and filed a false police report that his gun was stolen in Ohio  — a move that threw law enforcement off when trying to investigate Mazzo. 

“Never did get to talk to Nancy … I thought Nan and I would hit it off,” Mazza said in an interview with Capitol Police agents in March, claiming that he was a peacemaker at the riot. “I was glad I didn’t because you’d be here for another reason.”

Mazza also said that he was prepared to surrender because he “may go down as a hero.”

Strewn around Mazza’s home, investigators found a stash of weapons, including firearms, ammunition, hunting knives and swords. 

“The weapon was unique,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said during Mazza’s detention hearing. “Very few brought firearms.”

Prosecutors told Faruqui that he should be detained pending trial because Mazza has been charged with multiple crimes of violence, made false statements about his “stolen” weapon, and has a recent assault conviction from November 2021. 

“The defendant was unrepentant,” prosecutors said of Mazza’s March interview, noting in a motion to continue detention that Mazza faces a maximum statutory punishment of over 100 years incarceration — though it is highly unlikely the defendant will receive close to that. 

Faruqui will make a decision on Mazza’s motion to be released in the coming days.

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