A man who attacked a police officer and a Reuters cameraman during the U.S. Capitol riot was sentenced on Wednesday to more than four years in prison.
Shane Jason Woods, 45, was the first person charged with assaulting a member of the news media during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Woods, of Auburn, Illinois, took a running start and tackled the Reuters cameraman “like an NFL linebacker hunting a quarterback after an interception,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Woods also attacked and injured a Capitol police officer who was 100 pounds (45 kilograms) lighter than him, according to prosecutors. He blindsided the officer, knocking her off her feet and into a metal barricade. The next day, the officer was still in pain and said she felt as if she had been “hit by a truck,” prosecutors said.
“Woods’ actions were as cowardly as they were violent and opportunistic,” prosecutors wrote. “He targeted people smaller than him who did not see him coming. He attacked people who had done nothing whatsoever to even engage with him, let alone harm or block him.”
Prosecutors said they tried to interview the cameraman but don’t know if he was injured.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Woods to four years and six months of incarceration. Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of five years and 11 months.
Woods, who ran an HVAC repair business, was arrested in June 2021 and pleaded guilty to assault charges in September 2022.
He also has been charged in Illinois with first-degree murder in the death of a woman killed in a wrong-way car collision on Nov. 8, 2022.
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While free on bond conditions for the Jan. 6 case, Woods was pulled over for speeding but drove off and fled from law enforcement. Woods was drunk and driving in the wrong direction down a highway in Springfield, Illinois, when his pickup truck slammed into a car driven by 35-year-old Lauren Wegner, authorities said. Wegner was killed, and two other people were injured in the crash.
Woods was injured in the crash and was taken to a hospital, where a police officer overheard him saying that he had intentionally driven the wrong way on the highway and had been trying to crash into a semi-trailer truck, according to federal prosecutors. He remains jailed in Sangamon County, Illinois, while awaiting a trial scheduled to start in January, according to online court records.
“Just like on January 6, Woods’ behavior was cowardly, monstrous, and devoid of any consideration of others,” prosecutors wrote.
A defense attorney said in a court filing that it appears Woods’ “lack of judgment has been exacerbated by his drug and alcohol abuse as well as untreated mental health issues.”
Woods was armed with a knife when he joined the mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and disrupted the joint session of Congress for certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory over the Republican incumbent. Trump had earlier that day addressed the crowd of his supporters at a rally near the White House, encouraging them to “fight like hell.”
More than 1,100 people have been charged with Jan. 6-related federal crimes. Approximately 800 of them have pleaded guilty or been convicted by juries or judges after trials in Washington, D.C. Over 650 have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds of them receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from three days to 22 years, according to an Associated Press analysis of court records.
Associated Press writer Claire Savage in Chicago contributed to this report.