Illinois man calls joining Capitol siege his ‘single worst personal decision’

on Jan8
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Bradley Rukstales, an Illinois man arrested in Wednesday’s Capitol riots, told local reporters that joining the protesters was the “single worst personal decision” of his life.

Rukstales, CEO of tech company Cogensia, was arrested after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol in what has been called a historic attack on democracy. The siege left five people dead, including one Capitol police officer and one protester.

“It was great to see a whole bunch of people together in the morning and hear the speeches, but it turned into chaos,” Rukstales, who was inside the Capitol on Wednesday and apologized for his actions, told CBS 2 Chicago.

Supporters of President Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Supporters of President Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

He added that he had no part in “charging anybody or anything or doing any of that” and was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Everything that happened yesterday I think was absolutely terrible,” Rukstales told CBS 2. “I’m sorry for my part in it.”

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Rukstales shared the following statement with the outlet when asked why he stormed the Capitol: “In a moment of extremely poor judgment…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.”

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He continued: “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. I offer my sincere apologies for my indiscretion, and I deeply regret that my actions have brought embarrassment to my family, colleagues, friends and fellow countrymen.”

(Jayden X /Twitter @thejaydenxander)

Rukstales concluded that he can offer “no excuse” for his actions and wishes he could take them back.

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Cogensia released a statement on social media Thursday saying Rukstales’ actions did not reflect the values of the company. 

Rukstales wasn’t acting on behalf of Cogensia, “nor do his actions in any way reflect the policies or values of our firm,” the statement said. “He has been placed on leave of absence while we assess further.”

Rukstales has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, including President Trump and Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who unsuccessfully sought reelection, as well as party organizations over the past two years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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Another Illinois man, David Fitzgerald, was also arrested on charges of unlawful entry and curfew violations after Wednesday’s riots, CBS 2 reported.

His neighbor told the outlet that she was “shocked” by the allegations against Fitzgerald, adding that “he’s a very nice guy.”



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