Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Cape resident arrested in DC protest says Capitol attack 'was stupid'
top story

Cape resident arrested in DC protest says Capitol attack 'was stupid'


Meteorologist Joe Martucci loves forecasting for our towns in South Jersey. Subscribing to The Press of Atlantic City ensures your stories are being told. Go to for our best offers. You can subscribe for a print and digital subscription, or take part in a digital-only package.

For Leonard Guthrie Jr., Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., was meant to be about restoration and revival.

The Middle Township man joined thousands of others in the nation’s capital, many supporting President Donald Trump, to protest the results of the presidential election. The protest became a riot when a mob of Trump supporters, some armed, overran the Capitol and forced members of Congress to be escorted out of the House Chamber; 82 people have been charged so far, including Guthrie. Five people died as a result of the melee, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who grew up in New Jersey.

The rampage that shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials, led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack,” and prompted a broader reckoning over Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.

Guthrie was charged with unlawful entry, according to a Thursday release from the United States Capitol Police. Guthrie said Friday he was charged and removed before the protest evolved into a riot.

When he later learned how far the demonstration had strayed from its original intent, Guthrie said he was heartbroken.

“The moment that I heard that veteran (Ashli Babbitt) was shot,” said the 48-year-old Guthrie, “that broke my heart. I just have this thing with the veterans and people that swore an oath.

“I don’t know the details, but wherever she was, she felt it was her constitutional duty to continue to honor her oath. I’m not going to judge her for that.”

Thirteen other people were named in the release, and their charges included unlawful entry, assaulting a police officer, carrying a pistol without a license, resisting arrest and possessing unregistered ammunition.

Support Local Journalism

Your subscription makes our reporting possible.

Leonard Guthrie Sr., also of Middle Township, said the Leonard Guthrie charged Wednesday is his son.

According to Guthrie Jr., people wanted to have their voices heard at the Capitol as Congress was in the middle of certifying the Electoral College votes from the November presidential election. Before the building was compromised, he said the crowds were full of prayer to “bring God back to D.C.” He admitted he crossed the police line with others as a gesture of civil disobedience. He was promptly arrested and taken to a holding facility for four hours.

Using an app on his phone to keep track of his movements, he determined he was at the Capitol steps at 1:22 p.m. Between 2:05 and 6:03 p.m., he was in a holding cell. While there, he heard on the radio that things had taken a turn for the worse.

“This wasn’t about going in and destroying the building,” Guthrie Jr. said. “It had nothing to do with that. I have nothing to say about that other than they shouldn’t have done that. That was wrong. That was stupid.”

As a result of the chaos that continued into the evening, many Republican members of Congress changed their minds and voted to approve the electoral votes. Had things remained peaceful, Guthrie Jr. believes the results could’ve been drastically different.

“There was a constitutional process taking place, and the actions stopped it,” he said. “Who knows what effect that had on the choices and the judgments that were made that day?

“Look at how many people were willing to object. (The riot) happened, and when (the congressmen) came in, they changed their minds. So it’s pretty obvious there would have been a much different outcome.”

Guthrie Jr. said he got back home to South Jersey about 1 a.m. Thursday. He’s unsure what the unlawful entry charge will bring but hopes he will be treated differently from those who entered the Capitol.

“I know that my unlawful entry is different,” he said. “I didn’t breach the building or anything like that. I’m kind of in the dark with it. They can’t lump me in with those people.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact: 609-272-7210

Twitter @ACPressAustin

Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

The best local coverage, unlimited

Sign up for a digital subscription to The Press of Atlantic City now and take advantage of a great offer.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News