Washington — The FBI is asking for the public’s help in locating a one-time member of the Proud Boys and defendant in a case linked to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol after he failed to show up for his sentencing Friday in Washington, D.C., according to court filings and public statements.
Christopher Worrell was convicted of seven counts at a bench trial in May, including obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting officers. Prosecutors alleged he sprayed law enforcement officers with pepper spray gel during the attack as they defended the north side of the Capitol against a large group of rioters.
“Mr. Worrell did, in fact, spray his Sabre Red Maximum Strength Pepper Gel at a line of law enforcement officers protecting the Capitol. Of course, no one can doubt that he did actually spray that pepper gel,” Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in explaining his decision to convict Worrell in May.
On Friday, Lamberth issued a bench warrant for Worrell’s arrest after he didn’t show up for his sentencing hearing, court records indicated, and the FBI issued an alert asking for assistance in finding Worrell and taking him into custody.
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Worrell to 14 years in prison. His defense attorney countered in court filings and urged Lamberth to impose a far less harsh sentence that would involve no jail time: 30 months of home detention. Worrell’s lawyer argued that he has a health condition that must be closely monitored.
“Mr. Worrell’s acts happened over a 2-3 second period when he depressed the trigger mechanism on the container of pepper spray. But for that single act, it is unlikely that Mr. Worrell would have faced any charges, since he did not go inside the Capitol,” his attorney argued.
Worrell’s sentencing hearing has been suspended until he is taken into custody.
His case received increased scrutiny in 2021 after Lamberth held the warden of the Washington, D.C., jail in civil contempt after Worrell said he did not receive proper care for an injury while he was in custody. He was also being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his attorneys said, and did not receive adequate treatment for the disease.
The officials were held in contempt after they did not provide the judge with medical documentation that he had requested.
Lamberth ultimately released Worrell to home confinement to ensure proper medical care, where he remained even after his conviction.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the nation’s capital told CBS News it is seeking any information regarding Worrell’s whereabouts. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.