A St. Louis Cardinals superfan known as Rally Runner was charged on Wednesday with joining a mob during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where, wearing his signature red face paint, he used a riot shield to push against police officers to help other rioters advance, the Justice Department said.
The man, Daniel Donnelly Jr., 43, of St. Louis, was charged with one count of civil disorder, a felony, and several misdemeanor offenses, including disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, impeding passage through the Capitol grounds and theft of government property, the federal agency said in a news release.
A staunch supporter of the Cardinals, Mr. Donnelly in recent years became something of a mascot of the Major League Baseball team as he ran laps outside Busch Stadium, wearing all-red attire and face paint and believing that his jogs would generate more runs for the team.
Mr. Donnelly wore a similar all-red outfit at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors said, only this time, he added a red “Keep America Great” hat.
Mr. Donnelly did not immediately respond to messages left at numbers listed under his name. Online court records did not list a lawyer for him.
At about 4 p.m. on Jan. 6, Mr. Donnelly managed to get a riot shield from other rioters and then pushed to the front of the line at the tunnel entrance of the U.S. Capitol building, prosecutors said. There, he used the shield to “hold the line” as rioters sprayed chemical irritants and threw items at law enforcement officers, according to a criminal complaint.
Rioters also used Mr. Donnelly as a shield as they attacked officers, the complaint states.
“Donnelly continued to hold his position just inches away from the confrontation,” the Justice Department said in its release. “Rioters continued to push forward as a group, with Donnelly in the lead.”
Mr. Donnelly later used the shield to push law enforcement officers back, aiding the rioters trying to advance, the complaint states.
The charges against Mr. Donnelly came at a significant moment in the Justice Department’s investigation of Jan. 6. As of August, more than 1,000 people have been arrested in nearly every state for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said. On Tuesday, former President Donald J. Trump was indicted in connection with his widespread efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
After the Jan. 6 attack, Mr. Donnelly posted a video on Facebook that day in which he said that he had been at the Capitol. He boasted about making it to the front lines, with other people standing alongside him, according to court documents.
“It’s like they followed my lead, kind of,” Mr. Donnelly said in the video. “And it turned out to be a great strategy because the whole crowd was doing that, was able to push further than we had gotten the whole time.”
That day he wore a red jacket, red high socks and red pants. And he appeared to be proud of his actions: “I got further than anyone,” he said in the video. “I literally got further than anyone. I helped us get that far.”
The F.B.I. said that it appeared Mr. Donnelly had at one point legally changed his name to Rally Runner. On his Facebook page, he has posted about his support for Mr. Trump, shared videos of the Jan. 6 attack and discussed the Cardinals.
On June 14, he said his rally runs, which he has described as a “spiritual” act, would be going on a “sabbatical.”