Jacob Gaines, 24, faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
“We are very fortunate Mr. Gaines did not severely injure or kill the Deputy U.S. Marshal who confronted him outside the federal courthouse last summer. Assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon is a very serious crime and will be handled by our office accordingly,” Scott Erik Asphaug, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said in a statement.
“Anyone who assaults or tries to hurt a U.S. Marshals Service employee should expect to be charged. Mr. Gaines could have killed the deputy he struck with a construction hammer, and we’re grateful to the US Attorney’s Office for seeing this case through to its conclusion,” added Peter Cajigal, acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon.
Gaines was seen at around 1 a.m. on July 11, 2020, using a hammer to try to break through an entrance to the federal courthouse in Portland that had been barricaded because of ongoing riots by Antifa and other far-left groups.
After Gaines succeeded in making a hole in the plywood barricade, deputy U.S. Marshals exited the courthouse to confront him.
That’s when Gaines struck one of them three times with the hammer.
Gaines was immediately arrested.
Gaines has been described by federal officials as homeless and living out of his car in Portland.
In a document pleading guilty to assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon, Gaines said his thinking or ability to reason was not clouded by alcohol or drugs, though he acknowledged taking four prescription medicines, including the sedative clonidine.
“On July 11, 2020, I forcibly assaulted a Deputy United States Marshal while he was engaged in the performance of and on account of his official duties, and I used a deadly or dangerous weapon, to wit a four-pound hammer,” the document, which was filed with the court, stated.
An attorney representing Gaines declined to comment.
Guilty pleas and convictions from federal cases brought against rioters in Portland last year have been rare. Most have been dropped.
Still others are headed to jail for crimes committed during riots.
Cyan Bass, for instance, was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading guilty to arson and other counts in July. And Gavaughn Streeter-Hillerich was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a first-degree arson state charge a month earlier.