Jan. 6 protestor dies of apparent suicide

Protesters participate in a political rally in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

protesters participate in a political rally on July 25, 2021 in New York City. Protesters were demanding a release of the people who were arrested on January 6th for their involvement in the breach of the Capitol building. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

UPDATED 4:05 PM PT – Sunday, July 24, 2022

A January 6 defendant died of an apparent suicide while awaiting sentencing. Recently, 47-year-old Pennsylvania native Mark Aungst who pled guilty in May to parading in a restricted building was found dead. The Lycoming County coroner has ruled the death to be a suicide. Aungst was expected to serve prison time, but an exact amount had not been set yet. He faced a maximum of six months.

“A loyal and dedicated man, Mark showed tremendous pride for God and his country,” read Aungst’s obituary on NorthcentralPA.com. “Above all else, Mark loved his daughter and any time they spent together, as she was truly his world.”

Aungst and co-defendant Tammy Bronsburg took a bus to Washington on January 6, 2021 for President Donald Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally. After Trump’s speech they marched to the Capitol.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst said video evidence showed the pair entering the Capitol through the Senate fire door at approximately 2:45 p.m. and leaving 30 seconds later. They re-entered the building through another door and took photos and videos inside on their cellphones.

Aungst is not the first defendant to take their own life after being charged for being in Washington that day. Earlier this year, another Pennsylvania man arrested in connection with the January 6 riots committed suicide. Matthew Perna, who had also gone to Washington to support Trump pleaded guilty in December of 2021 to entering the building and faced years in prison. He hung himself in his garage.

“He attended the rally on Jan. 6, 2021 to peacefully stand up for his beliefs,” said Perna’s family. “After learning that the FBI was looking for him, he immediately turned himself in. He didn’t break, touch, or steal anything. He did not harm anyone. He stayed within the velvet ropes taking pictures. For this act he has been persecuted by many members of his community, friends, relatives, and people who had never met him. Many people were quietly supportive and Matt was truly grateful for them.”

He is survived by his mother, daughter and three siblings.

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