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St. Augustine man, accused of assaulting police in Capitol tunnel, dies while awaiting trial

John Steven Anderson, 61, died at a Jacksonville hospital on Tuesday. He was accused of assaulting police in the Capitol tunnel on January 6.

WASHINGTON — A St. Augustine man charged with assaulting police in the Capitol tunnel on January 6 has died while awaiting trial, his attorney said in court Friday morning.

John Steven Anderson, 61, died Tuesday at Baptist Hospital South in Jacksonville, Florida, according to an obituary published by the St. John’s Family Funeral Home. Anderson’s attorney, Marina Medvin, confirmed his death to WUSA9, saying in an email Anderson was a “good-hearted man.”

Anderson, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Florida Army National Guard’s 3/20th Special Forces Group, was arrested in February and indicted a month later on eight counts in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot. Those counts included civil disorder, assaulting police, theft of government property and entering a restricted building or grounds.

In charging documents filed in D.C. District Court, the Justice Department says bodyworn camera footage shows Anderson wielding a police riot shield at the front of a line of rioters attempting to push through a line of law enforcement in the Capitol tunnel.

During the melee in the tunnel, Anderson was exposed to chemical irritants and began suffering respiratory distress. Surveillance footage shows officers assisting Anderson in moving through the police line to receive aid.

Anderson was granted pretrial release in March and ordered to stay away from the District of Columbia except for business related to his case.

Anderson is survived by his wife of eight months, Beth, and three step-grandchildren, as well as a sister, brother and sister-in-law, all located in Michigan.

Anderson is at least the second defendant in the Capitol riot case to die while awaiting trial. In July, Joseph Cable Barnes, of Austin, Texas, died after colliding with a vehicle while riding a motorcycle. Barnes, who worked as a real estate agent, was facing a number of charges in the case, including one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

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