Former North Dakota man charged in U.S. Capitol breach

April 14, 2023

WASHINGTON (KFGO) – A former Oriska, North Dakota man, now living in New Mexico, has been arrested on federal charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol

Sixty two year-old Rockne Earles is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, and civil disorder, all felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors say Earles grabbed and threw a Capitol officer to the ground using what appeared to be significant force. Earles was identified from surveillance videos which showed that he was inside the Capitol for about 27 minutes.

Charging documents say the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center received an anonymous tip on January 16, 2021 indicating that Earles had participated in the Capitol riots. In February 2021, a second tip came in that Earles had posted information regarding a bus traveling to Washington on January 6 on the Valley City “What’s Happening” Facebook page on December 28, 2020.

A special agent with the FBI showed surveillance video from January 6 which appeared to show a person matching Earles’ description to a local law enforcement official in North Dakota. That person confirmed they knew Earles from meetings and local events and positively identified him.

Before he was positively identified in the April 7, 2023 charging documents, Earles was previously known as #SteamPunkLunk by online communities that have been working to identify Capitol rioters.

Earles unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Barnes County Commission in November of 2020.

The charges were filed by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Albuquerque, Minneapolis and Washington field offices.