A former Byram Hills student and football player was arrested Monday by federal authorities for being part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Armonk resident Brian Gundersen was charged after tips were received by the FBI that linked him to an individual who was seen in a still photo on a television newscast in a Byram Hills football jacket. In the photo that appeared on CNN, the man’s back was to the camera and the back of the jacket was partially obscured on the steps of the Capitol not far from the building’s doors.
According to the complaint, North Castle police contacted the FBI’s New York Operations Center on Jan. 12 that multiple community members saw what they believed was a Byram Hills jacket.
Later that day, Police Chief Peter Simonsen called the FBI again to inform investigators that the individual in the photo was believed to be Gundersen, the complaint stated. The zero on the left arm of the jacket partially matched the football jersey number 70 that he wore when he played.
On Jan. 19, FBI special agents interviewed a witness who has “a close personal relationship” to the suspect and substantiated he was “an avid supporter of former President Trump and a follower of commentator Nick Fuentes,” a right-wing conservative radio host.
A second witness, who also had a close relationship with Gundersen, informed agents that Gundersen had been part of a large group on the front steps of the Capitol building, according to the FBI complaint. The second witness stated that Gundersen had informed him the group was “disarming officers of their riot shields,” and when everyone else stormed into the building, he followed them inside.
“According to (Witness-1), Gundersen said he walked around the halls but was never violent while inside the Capitol,” the complaint stated.
Later Jan. 19, Gundersen was interviewed by FBI agents and admitted he went to the Jan. 6 rally in support of President Trump. GPS tracking on his cell phone confirmed he was in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. Authorities said on the previous day they found messages he had sent that he and others “might be able to bum rush the (W)hite (H)ouse and take it over.”
A Jan. 8 message from his phone also stated “we all stormed the us capital (sic) and tried to take over the government,” followed by “We failed but f— it.”
The complaint noted that Gundersen’s phone also contained a message from a Brian Kristopher — his Facebook identity — which stated that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The phone also contained a Google search for “pelosi’s office.”
The FBI’s complaint stated there is probable cause that Gundersen violated federal law that makes it a crime to enter and remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and knowingly have intent to disrupt or impede the orderly conduct of government business.
Furthermore, the FBI concluded there is probable cause to charge Gunderson with willfully and knowingly using threatening or abusive language or engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in the Capitol building with the intent to impede, disrupt or disturb a session of Congress.
The Examiner was told that Gundersen was a 2012 Byram Hills High School graduate. While that could not be confirmed, a Facebook post on Monday stated he is 26 years old.
It was not immediately clear if Gundersen was in custody.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/