A South El Monte man who participated in the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 along with thousands of other supporters of former president Donald Trump was caught after he told an Uber driver about what he did that day, officials say.
“So, has it been violent all day?” the Washington, DC-based Uber driver asked Jerry Daniel Braun, 68, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
Braun, with a bushy white beard and a bald head, was trying to stanch bleeding from his forehead.
“Well, it started around, right when I got there,” Braun told the driver. “I tore down the barricades.”
According to footage from outside the Capitol included in the complaint, Braun scuffled with police and attacked a journalist with a plank of wood that day. The Uber driver later turned over footage from his dashboard camera that captured his conversation his with Braun.
“Well, how’d that work out for ya?” the driver asked.
“Well, it looks like, uh, Biden’s gonna be our president,” Braun said.
The FBI ultimately tracked Braun down after they got a tip from the Uber driver about a week after the Capitol attack. But that only started their search: The agent involved in the investigation into Braun described using footage of the riot posted online by hundreds of amateur sleuths dedicated to finding more Jan. 6 participants.
From that footage, the agent found tiny details on the clothing of one rioter that day that led him to Braun.
The online detectives found video of a man attacking the barricades outside the Capitol. Footage from the body camera of a Metropolitan Police Department officer showed the man joining others in struggling with officers over a metal barricade.
Camera footage showed the same man later wielding a large plank of wood that he brandished to menace police. The man also encountered a video journalist wearing a helmet emblazoned with the text, “Press.” The man and the journalist exchange words, after which the man attacked the reporter with the plank of wood and his fists.
From that footage, the man the FBI focused on could be seen wearing black clothing, including a jacket, a face mask, sunglasses, gloves and a beanie.
Poking out from the face mask was a white beard. And in his jacket pocket, he was a pen and a business card. The part of the card that was visible had the text “Ask for JD,” and part of a phone number. That led them to a motorcycle parts business in Southern California where Braun worked.
On Nov. 8, 2021, FBI agents searched Braun’s home his. During that search, Braun told the agents “he had been analyzing politics his whole life his,” and went to Washington, DC to hear Trump ‘s speech on the lawn outside the Capitol. According to the complaint, Braun then admitted to taking part in the attack on the Capitol.
“After being asked by the agents if (he) had anything he wanted to tell them before he departed the search location, BRAUN responded, ‘Guilty,’” agents wrote in the complaint. “When asked what he was guilty of, BRAUN responded, ‘Everything.’ “
Agents also asked Braun about his head injury. He told the agents that he was carrying a pizza while walking to the Uber he ordered, then tripped and “busted” his head. Whether that’s true or not, agents haven’t said if they think Braun was injured during the fighting outside the Capitol.