U.S. Capitol riot leads to charges against Macomb County men

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Federal prosecutors Thursday charged two Michigan men with breaking into the U.S. Capitol, the latest fallout from a deadly riot in January.

Daniel Herendeen, 43, of Chesterfield Township and Bobby Schornak, 39, of Roseville are charged with obstructing Congress, breaking into the Capitol and disorderly conduct, according to petitions filed by prosecutors in federal court in Detroit.

Bobby Schornak, left, and Daniel Herendeen, second from right, were photographed in the nation's capital on Jan. 6.

The men are portrayed in an unsealed FBI memo filed in federal court as friends who planned together to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 that included a speech by President Donald Trump.

The planning included packing body armor, a knife, helmets and gear that included "Antifa spray," according to the FBI.

“Cant stay home, I would not be able to live w myself,” Schornak wrote to Herendeen in a Facebook message obtained by the FBI.

“That’s how I feel,” Herendeen responded. “I’m supposed to go with [redacted], but it sounds like he might back out. I heard it might be hard to get to DC. I go regardless.”

“Hard, nothing easy ever worth doing,” Schornak wrote. “Just call me bro.”

“Good point! Wanna make a plan?,” wrote Herendeen, who owns a Chesterfield Township epoxy flooring company, according to state business records.

A handcuffed Herendeen was released on $10,000 unsecured bond Thursday following a brief appearance in federal court in Detroit. His court-appointed lawyer Colleen Fitzharris could not be reached immediately Thursday for comment.

Herendeen and Schornak are due in federal court April 7 for a preliminary hearing during which prosecutors must show probable cause to support the charges. 

Schornak, a manager at a Macomb County debt-settlement services company, also was released on $10,000 unsecured bond and received a court-appointed lawyer.

A pretrial investigation showed two misdemeanor convictions in Schornak’s past and a dismissed charge of felony ethnic intimidation.

The brief court appearance was what prosecutors plan as a preliminary stop before Schornak and Herendeen appear in federal court in Washington, D.C.

An acquaintance told the FBI about Herendeen’s preparations for the rally and items he was going to bring to the event. Herendeen showed the witness “black tinted goggles, a combat-styled belt, a knife, a cannister of what Herendeen described as ‘Antifa spray,’ body armor and a face covering depicting the American flag,” according to the FBI memo.

Another witness told investigators Schornak was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. The witness provided a screen grab from a Facebook user who posted an update on the riot on Schornak’s behalf, according to the FBI.

“Yes I was in it, front line tear gased, pepper sprayed n batoned (sic),” the post reads.

One witness gave the FBI video from a Facebook post showing Herendeen inside the Capitol crypt.

In the video, Herendeen is wearing several items described by the witness, including body armor, black goggles and an American flag mask.

The FBI says video taken inside the U.S. Capitol shows Daniel Herendeen in the Capitol crypt during the Jan. 6 riot.

The video also was posted on Herendeen's Facebook page, according to the FBI. The post included comments from friends praising Herendeen for "standing up for our American rights," according to the FBI.

The video was later deleted from Herendeen's page.

Investigators also searched Schornak's social media posts. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found a selfie of Schornak inside the Capitol, according to the FBI.

A photo of Bobby Schornak, right, inside the U.S. Capitol was posted on his Facebook page, according to the FBI.

Schornak is shown on surveillance footage during the riot posing for the selfie in Emancipation Hall inside the Capitol during the riot, according to the government.

An earlier post on Schornak’s Facebook account complained about the November presidential election being stolen and includes video of ballot counting at what appeared to be the TCF Center in Detroit on Nov. 4.

In July, a post on his Facebook account called Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a “stark raving mad power crazed murderous governor” and accused her of jeopardizing the health and safety of nursing home residents during the pandemic. In another post, Schornak is wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat.

Robert Schornak

A total of five people from Michigan have now been charged in federal court in connection with the riot. Nationwide, more than 315 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot.

The three other Michiganians charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection are:

• Michael Joseph Foy, 30, of Wixom. Federal prosecutors said Foy on Jan. 6 struck law enforcement at least 10 times with a hockey stick that had carried a President Donald Trump flag earlier in the day. Foy, who is being held without bond, later rallied others to climb through broken windows in the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said, citing a YouTube video and police body camera footage. 

• Karl Dresch, 40, of Calumet was denied bond after allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A YouTube video shown at a federal court hearing Monday caught the moment a man authorities believe to be Michael Foy attacked police guarding an entrance to the Capitol with a hockey stick that bore a Trump flag earlier in the day.

• James Allen Mels, 56, of Shelby Township. Mels posted selfies after entering the Capitol and told investigators he traveled to Washington, D.C., with 11 other "like minded Patriots" because "he believed the 2020 presidential election to have been fraudulently decided," according to a federal court filing. The sheet metal worker was released on $10,000 unsecured bond following an initial appearance in federal court in Detroit.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews 

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