After the FBI posted photos of people it identified as U.S. Capitol rioters, one image surprised fans of heavy metal rock musicians and former friends in Fort Wayne.
Jon Schaffer, a guitarist with the band Iced Earth, is seen shouting with his left arm raised and pointing toward the inside as thousands stormed the building Jan. 6. In the photo posted on the FBI website two days later, Schaffer is wearing black leather fingerless tactical gloves.
Schaffer, whose band is based in Tampa, Florida, has not been arrested. The Tampa Police Department said no arrests had been made of anyone with that name. The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., referred calls to the FBI. A spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based FBI office said the agency is not discussing current cases under investigation, but arrests have been noted on the FBI website.
Although Schaffer has been based in Tampa for years, people remember the 52-year-old here. Stacey Davis, who lives in Fort Wayne and is a board member of Justice Accountability & Victim Advocacy, said she attended a Lutheran elementary school with Schaffer and recalled when he got a bar of soap crammed down his throat.
That incident was the beginning of Schaffer's anger, now directed at “globalists and thugs” Schaffer identified as the criminals trying to bring about a global government. In a YouTube interview posted in November by Roxx Radio and included in a Sunday article by tmz.com, Schaffer is seen walking at a protest.
“My name's Jon Schaffer. I'm from Indiana,” he tells the interviewer. After she asks if he's “expecting some sort of violence,” he responds that he and others are ready to fight.
“If somebody brings violence, I think there's a lot of us here who are ready for it. We don't want that, but if they bring it, we're going to respond to that, trust me,” Schaffer said.
Efforts to reach Schaffer were unsuccessful Wednesday night.
Schaffer attended Northrop High School and grew up near Ashley Avenue off Lima Road where he learned guitar riffs from Tommy Lee Thompson, a neighbor. Thompson said he remembers Schaffer as a younger teen who used to turn up at his house when his band practiced.
The name of that local band was Iced Earth. Thompson, now a professional musician in Atlanta, said his band was shocked when the name was used by Schaffer's band. Thompson said his band was ready to fight the use of the name legally but the death of fellow band member William “Bob” Newkirk, Jr. brought a great emotional toll.
Newkirk, 19, was killed in a crash on Coldwater Road in May 1981, about a week before he graduated from Northrop High School.
Newkirk, Thompson and the rest of the band had cut an album with original songs, according to an article published in The Journal Gazette and kept scrapbook style by Thompson.
“We had just recorded our first album. (The band) tried for a year and it just never worked.” And there was never a copyright on the name, Thompson said.
“He's very popular in Germany,” Thompson said of Schaffer. “He's got over a half million followers.”
In a social media post, Schaffer's bandmates condemned the Capitol building riot.