Auburn man arrested for assaulting officers during US Capitol insurrection

Local News

AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) — An Auburn man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of assaulting officers protecting the U.S. Capitol during the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.

Sean Michael McHugh in an image captured at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. (Courtesy: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

Sean Michael McHugh made his first court appearance Friday as he faces multiple charges for his alleged role in the riot, including physical violence on Capitol grounds and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Records provided by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claim the 34-year-old Auburn man was caught on camera holding up a megaphone as he encouraged people to storm the nation’s Capitol.

According to court records, police body camera footage captures McHugh confronting officers and shouting things like, “You’re protecting communists,” “You ain’t holding the line,” and, “There is a Second Amendment behind us, what are you going to do then?”

Images show McHugh helping shove a large metal sign into a line of officers. At the same time, records say he shouted, “Put it up there! Put it up there!”

In a separate instance, McHugh takes a canister from a holster on his waist and sprays what the court says is “unknown, yellow chemical spray” at officers.

Investigators say a background check into McHugh showed he was on probation at the time of the insurrection after he was convicted of driving under the influence with a suspended license in Placer County. He was sentenced to five years probation and 180 days in jail.

Court records show he has a prior case from Sacramento County for statutory rape. 

“We have known him since we moved here,” said Samantha Strong who has been McHugh’s neighbor since last year and just heard about his arrest for the first time.  

“That’s really unfortunate that he got caught for that,” Strong told FOX40. “He’s very nice. Nothing bad to say. He did electrical work in our house. My husband is close.”  

“I don’t know his views on anything, I had no idea he would go to that,” she continued. 

The FBI is still attempting to positively identify a woman seen with McHugh at the Capitol. A special agent says the woman, along with another unidentified male, was listed on McHugh’s flight reservation from Sacramento International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The same woman was captured on surveillance at the hotel McHugh had booked from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, which was mere blocks from the Capitol.

The woman seen with Sean Michael McHugh. (Courtesy: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

Around 440 people have been arrested for participating in the Capitol breach and investigations are still ongoing.

FOX40 attempted to interview McHugh while in jail but was denied due to strict COVID-19 guidelines.

He is currently being held on federal charges and is ineligible for bail.

Anyone with tips from the day can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit

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