A Georgia man who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, assaulted an officer and sat in former Vice President Mike Pence’s chair was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison.
Bruno Joseph Cua, who was 18 at the time of the riot, was sentenced to a year and a day followed by three years of supervised release, much lower than the federal prosecution’s request of more than 4.5 years, according to a sentencing memo filed in May.
The now 21-year-old was found guilty of two felony charges earlier this year, including obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, interfering with, intimidating, opposing or impeding officers. In May, federal prosecutors said Cua was the sixth youngest person to be charged in the Capitol attack, according to the sentencing memo.
Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia argued while he is one of the youngest to be charged, Cua was “not a child” on Jan. 6, noting, “Americans who reach the age of 18 are entrusted with several important responsibilities and duties.”
Federal prosecutors said Cua attended the rally at the Washington Monument with his parents on Jan. 6 before walking towards the Capitol and separating from them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Cua then climbed the scaffolding of the Capitol before going inside to the third floor of the building. Despite blaring alarms and Capitol police in the area, prosecutors said Cua walked through the hallway with a baton in his hands, yelling, “This is what happens when you piss off patriots,” and, “Where are the swamp rats hiding?”
While Capitol Police tried to lock the doors to the Senate Gallery, Cua shoved an officer, and the officers withdrew from the doors without locking them, prosecutors said. Once inside, Cua yelled, “This is our house! This is our country,” sat in Pence’s chair and put his feet up on the desk. Prosecutors said he accessed multiple desks of senators and assisted other rioters in getting into the Senate chamber.
“Cua played a unique and prominent role on January 6, opening the Senate Chamber to rioters, escalating confrontations, and leading other rioters into and through the Capitol,” prosecutors said in their sentencing memo.
The investigation found Cua posted multiple times on social media, promoting the use of violence to stop the certification of the electoral vote, according to the sentencing memo. Cua posted claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and “made clear that he did not believe that peaceful protesting would be effective and that violence was necessary.”
Cua confirmed his participation in the riot on social media and posted about “the use of violence during the riot, and his belief that additional violence may be necessary in the future,” according to prosecutors.
Before he was sentenced, Cua apologized for his actions on Jan. 6 and said he was ashamed of his role, according to The Associated Press.
“Everything that day was just one terrible decision after another,” he said.
The judge reportedly was going to give Cua a longer prison sentence before Wednesday’s statement, but said he thinks he showed true remorse.
Since the Capitol riot, federal prosecutors estimate more than 1,069 people have been arrested in almost all 50 states in connection with the breach.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.