Inverness man calls decision to enter Capitol building 'worst' of his life, fired from job
ROSELLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Two people from Illinois are known to have been arrested and charged in Wednesday's riots and protests in Washington, D.C.
David Fitzgerald, 48, from Roselle was livestreaming from the Capitol campus when he was arrested, The ABC7 I-Team spoke to Fitzgerald after he arrived home Friday afternoon.
"I just needed to be there," Fitzgerald told the I-Team. "Like what's going to happen? And, what happened was so much crazier than anything you know."
Fitzgerald was livestreaming was taken into custody almost an hour and a half after the DC curfew went into effect. He told the I-Team that he never actually went inside the Capitol, never intended to, and shouldn't be charged with unlawful entry. Although, it would appear the violation is based on his presence after curfew and an alleged unlawful entry to the Capitol grounds.
"Totally peaceful from my end, I don't know what happened in the capitol because I was never there," Fitzgerald said. He told the I-Team he condemns Wednesday's violence.
"I wasn't there on the front lines to really see it but from the little bits of social media that I have seen and just from being there, whatever that was like somewhat nefarious and that totally wasn't the vibe of what was happening," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald pleaded not guilty in court Thursday. He has been banned from D.C. and is due back in court in June.
Bradley Rukstales, 52, of north suburban Inverness was also arrested in D.C. for unlawful entry to the Capitol.
Officials did not say whether either man actually entered the Capitol building or the restricted area around it.
Rukstales is the CEO of Cogensia, a Schaumburg-based data-driven marketing company, who announced Friday evening he had been fired by their board of directors, effective immediately.
"This decision was made because Rukstales' actions were inconsistent with the core values of Cogensia. Cogensia condemns what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, and we intend to continue to embrace the values of integrity, diversity and transparency in our business operations, and expect all employees to embrace those values as well," said Joel Schiltz, former COO and now Acting CEO of Cogensia in a press release.
In a tweet Thursday night, Rukstales said he did enter the Capitol building.
"In a moment of extremely poor judgement following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside. I was arrested for the first time in my life and charged with unlawful entry," he said. "My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so. Without qualification and as a peaceful and law-abiding citizen, I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington."
He went on to say: "I offer my sincere apologies for my indiscretion, and I deeply regret that my action have brought embarrassment to my family, colleagues, friends and fellow countrymen. It was the single worst personal decision of my life; I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back."
The emergency curfew followed a violent attack on America's Capitol building. DC police have put out "Be On The Lookout" or "BOLO" alerts for dozens of people who crashed congressional gates and scattered through the hallowed halls, including a man who was pictured with his feet up on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Thursday morning, the DC Metropolitan Police Department announced 80 people have been arrested since the unrest began, including five people with illegal guns, two others for illegally possessing other illegal weapons, 36 for curfew violations and 25 for curfew violations and unlawful presence on Capitol Grounds.
District authorities said the attackers were encouraged by President Trump himself at a rally a few blocks away.
"It's not just the president who must be held accountable; so too must the domestic terrorists who stormed the capital and threatened members of Congress, what happened yesterday is textbook terrorism," said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser during a press conference.
The fallout from Wednesday's unsecured mayhem has already begun. The Senate Sergeant at Arms is going to be fired according to Democratic leadership and the House Sergeant at Arms will retire after the Capitol was overrun.
Only one of those arrested in connection to the unrest was from DC, MPD Chief Robert J. Contee said.
Congress confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner early Thursday after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a stunning attempt to overturn America's presidential election, undercut the nation's democracy and keep Trump in the White House.
ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.