Stephen AyresCapitol rioter who testified at Tuesday, Jan. 6 committee hearings, later apologized to a US Capitol police sergeant who had been severely beaten during the uprising. Officer Aquilino Gonell is no longer able to work due to lingering injuries.
Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to charges related to his Jan. 1 actions. On December 6, 2021, apologized to Gonell and the other officers present for his role in the violence.
“I didn’t expect this,” Gonell told reporters of Ayres’ apology. “Then it just became known to us. I don’t hold grudges. I’m trying to live my life… and learn how to live and deal with my new imperfections.”
Gonell blames former President Trump for ending his career, he told reporters. “He didn’t come to our rescue in January. 6, and learn what we learned from Jan. 6, he played his part,” Gonell said after the hearing on Tuesday. “He had to call the crowd back. Instead, he incited them.”
Gonell appeared before the first hearing in the House Select Committee on January 1. 6 violence, where he shared his harrowing experience that day at the Capitol. He said he feared for his life and would have several surgeries due to injuries to his shoulder, legs and feet, as well as at least a year of rehab. He said he didn’t hug his wife when he got home because his uniform was soaked in the chemical irritants he was sprayed with. He described how he lay in bed in agony for several hours before putting on a fresh uniform and returning to work. In June, Gonell was informed that he would not be able to continue working in the police force due to his injuries.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t want to retire like this,” Gonell said.