- An Oregon man was arrested after firing a handgun several times at a Portland federal courthouse.
- Cody Melby, 39, was charged with destruction of government property, according to the Department of Justice.
- When asked by officers why he was at the courthouse, Melby said “because I am tired of all the s— you guys have to take.”
- Melby published a video to YouTube one day before the capitol insurrection on January 6 with “statements that subscribe to the ‘Alt-Right’ ideology of ‘Stop the Steal’ and QAnon conspiracy theories,” according to an affidavit filed by Senior Special Agent John Dean.
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An Oregon man was arrested after firing several gunshots at a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon on January 8, 2021, according to the Department of Justice.
Cody Melby, 39, was charged with destruction of government property after trespassing at the Hatfield Courthouse grounds and discharging a handgun into the columns of the building. According to charges filed by the DOJ, Melby’s gunshots resulted in less than $US1,000 of total damage to the courthouse.
Due to protests stemming from the death of George Floyd in May, the Hatfield Courthouse erected a large fence around the building and covered the stone facade and windows with plywood.
According to the affidavit of Senior Special Agent John Dean of the US Department of Homeland Security, Melby was spotted standing in front of the courthouse in a covered foyer area between the building and the fences. The courthouse security assumed Melby was a court employee that had inadvertently gotten locked out of the building and sent two officers to assist him.
When security arrived, Melby is alleged by Dean to have ignored the officers’ questions until they were five yards away, only to say “I have a gun.” He was quickly taken into custody without firing a shot at the officers.
Officers found Melby had a loaded handgun and a switchblade in his possession.
After being detained, Melby was asked what he was doing by an officer. Melby said he had been in front of the courthouse for 20 minutes and fired shots into the ground because no one had approached him. When asked why he had travelled to the courthouse, he told the officer, “because I am tired of all the s— you guys have to take.”
When inspectors arrived at the courthouse, they found several bullet holes from Melby in the protective plywood of the courthouse.
According to Dean’s affidavit, Melby published a video on January 5 where he said that there was an “illegal coup attempt” and that the presidential election saw “theft of votes.” The affidavit further notes that Melby’s video includes “statements that subscribe to the ‘Alt-Right’ ideology of ‘Stop the Steal’ and QAnon conspiracy theories.”
One day after Melby’s video, pro-Trump rioters in Washington, DC breached the US Capitol Building in an attempted coup, leading to the deaths of several protestors and one Capitol Police officer.
In June 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on “protecting American monuments, memorials, and statues and combating recent criminal violence.” The order states that it is the policy of the US to prosecute “under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property.”
The executive order further notes that US Code authorizes a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for the “willful injury of Federal property.” It is currently unclear if the DOJ will utilise the executive order during the prosecution against Melby.
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