LOWER TOWNSHIP — The New Jersey man charged charged with unlawful entry during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol building by pro-Trump protesters told NBC Philadelphia that he didn't do it and wouldn't have.

Leonard Guthrie Jr. was one of 14 people arrested by U.S. Capitol police and charged with unlawful entry during the protest as Congress met in a joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College vote from each state.

After attending a rally where President Donald Trump repeated false claims about the election and told supporters to walk to the Capitol, many of them forced their way into the building, sending lawmakers and staff running for cover.

Guthrie, of Lower Township, told NBC Philadelphia he was not among those inside the building.

"I crossed a police line. I disobeyed a law," Guthrie said.

Guthrie, who told Fox 29 he is married with a daughter, said no one should have died at the Capitol.

"The people who went into the building were wrong,” Guthrie told Fox 29. "I walked up to the Capitol because that’s where voices needed to be heard."

Guthrie told Fox 29 he believes there were problems with the November election but said Trump did not incite the violence.

His father told a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that his son went to the rally as the chaplain for a group that met in Washington to "pray and support President Trump and the whole movement."

Leonard Jr. told NBC Philadelphia he has a court date in June in Washington.

More than 50 Capitol and D.C. police were injured during the protest including several who were hospitalized.

Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was injured "while physically engaging with protesters" during the Wednesday riot, died. He is the fifth person to die because of the violence.

During the melee, Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said. The officials could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has since resigned his position under pressure from congressional leaders. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called the police response "a failure."


Michael Symons contributed to this report.

(Includes material copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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