Military vet near Babbitt when fatally shot by police in J6 riot sentenced to 6-plus years in prison

Defendant's attorney says "disappointed" that his client's sentence is "significantly longer than others who did so much worse."

Published: May 24, 2023 8:56am

Updated: May 24, 2023 11:42am

A Texas veteran and winery operator was sentenced to nearly seven years behind bars for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, where he was part of a crowd that tried to enter the Speaker's Lobby when police fatally shot protester Ashli Babbitt.

Christopher Grider, 41, of Eddy, Texas, pleaded guilty in December 2022 to two misdemeanors and was found guilty on seven counts related to his actions during the Capitol riot. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Grider Tuesday to 83 months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release and ordered him to pay $5,055 in restitution and an $812 fine, court documents show.

After entering the Capitol, Grider pressed buttons on a utility box and yelled, "Turn the power off!," prosecutors said. He also waved more rioters into a hallway outside of the House Chamber and then ran to the Speaker's Lobby door, where he pushed on the door and gave his helmet to another rioter, who proceeded to break the door's windows. 

Grider was seen backing away from the door as people in the crowd yelled, "gun," before a police officer fatally shot Babbitt, officials said. Grider held his phone over a stairway to apparently try and capture a video or pictures of Babbitt as she bled on the floor.

Later that day, he appeared on KWTX-TV News 10, a station based in Waco, Texas, and said that he was a few feet from the woman, later identified as Babbitt, who was killed. 

Grider was a military police officer in the U.S. Air Force after he served in the Army National Guard. He has since operated a family-owned winery near Waco with his wife, according to The Associated Press.

"This is a sad day," Grider's defense attorney, Brent Mayr, said after the sentencing. "We respect the court’s consideration of all Chris did to try to make things right after January 6, but we are disappointed that his sentence is significantly longer than others who did so much worse than him."

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News