Albany man surrenders, accused of attacking journalists, smashing Capitol door

Far right demonstrators break the glass on a door to the Oregon State Capitol during a special legislative session Monday. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Update 12/29: This story has been updated with additional details about the suspects.

An Albany man suspected of attacking journalists during a violent protest at the Capitol on Dec. 21 has turned himself in to the Oregon State Police.

Jeremy Wayne Roberts, 40, turned himself in on Sunday afternoon and was charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, first-degree criminal mischief, harassment and fourth-degree assault. He is being held at the Marion County Jail with a $50,000 bail. He appeared in court Monday afternoon.

Roberts is accused of “engaging in violent, tumultuous and threatening behavior,” damaging a glass door on the right side of the Capitol the afternoon of Dec. 21, court records show. He’s also accused of harassing Statesman Journal photographer Brian Hayes and assaulting OPB journalist Sergio Olmos, according to charging documents.

Roberts denied assaulting anyone to police, according to a probable cause statement. The attack on Olmos was partially witnessed by a trooper, the statement said.

In August 2019, Roberts pleaded guilty to menacing in Marion County and was sentenced to a week in jail and two years of probation. Roberts had punched a wall above the head of his girlfriend at the time, a probable cause statement reads.

Roberts is one of five people arrested by the Oregon State Police for crimes related to the event. A demonstration organized by Joey Gibson brought an estimated 200 people to the Capitol as legislators met in special session. Several demonstrators, demanding the state rescind Covid restrictions, made their way into the Capitol although it was closed to the public.

State police said officers were sprayed with a chemical agent by a demonstrator while they were inside the Capitol.

Police later arrested Ryan Lyles, 41, of Astoria, for being a felon in possession of body armor and unlawful use of mace. Lyles is accused of spraying a “chemical agent” at officers, court records show.

Ronald Vanvlack, 75, of Myrtle Point, and Jerry Dyreson, 53, were arrested for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after they refused to leave the Capitol.

Police arrested Jeremiah Pruitt, 35, of Salem, for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct for taking a metal pole to a glass door and shattering it, a probable cause statement reads.

Oregon State Police trooper Andrew Tuttle wrote that Pruitt changed his clothes after breaking the door in a probable cause affidavit dated Dec. 21.

“When I asked him why he did it, he said civil disobedience,” Tuttle wrote.

All four men were booked in the Marion County Jail on Dec. 21 and released on bail.

Salem police had sought public help identifying four additional men involved with the Dec. 21 demonstration. Lt. Treven Upkes, Salem police spokesman, said all four have since been identified and authorities are evaluating whether they should be charged with any crimes related to the Capitol demonstration.

Upkes said police wouldn’t release the names of the four men, citing the continuing investigation. He said none of the four men have been arrested.

Local law enforcement are preparing for another event planned by Oregon Women for Trump on Friday, Jan. 1. It called a “mass civil disobedience march and rally” in which eventgoers plan to march to Mahonia Hall, the governor’s residence in south Salem. Another demonstration is planned for Jan. 6. 

Related coverage: Arrests and outrage follow violent protest at the state Capitol

Correction: One of the suspects’ surnames is Dyreson. A police release misstated his surname.

 Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]

WE GET SALEM THE FACTS. Covering your community with care and depth. Salem Reporter – fair, accurate, independent. Subscribe and support our essential local service.