The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon charged Cody Melby, 39, with destruction of government property after he shot several bullets into the exterior of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in downtown Portland.
Prosecutors say Melby fired several rounds from a 9 mm handgun into the courthouse's exterior on the evening of Jan. 8. When two security officers exited the building, Melby told them he had a gun. The officers then handcuffed him "without further incident."
According to the federal criminal complaint, filed Jan. 10, Melby jumped the black fence that has surrounded the federal courthouse in Portland since racial justice protests began last spring. He told prosecutors he was there "because I am tired of all the shit you guys have to take."
On Jan. 11, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office announced that it also filed charges against Melby for unlawful use of a firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm in city limits, possession of a loaded firearm in public, criminal trespass while in possession of a firearm and criminal mischief.
In addition, court records filed in Marion County Circuit Court indicate Melby also trespassed at the state Capitol while in possession of a firearm on Jan. 6—the same day far-right protesters gathered in Salem while, on the other side of the country, Trump loyalists attempted a coup at the U.S. Capitol.
The federal complaint says Melby, who lives in the Clackamas County town of Beavercreek, has a YouTube channel with few subscribers but several videos with "statements that subscribe to the 'Alt-Right' ideology of 'Stop the Steal' and QAnon conspiracy theories," prosecutors wrote.
In his most recent video, posted Jan. 5, prosecutors wrote, Melby appears to be standing outside of the Oregon Capitol in Salem. In the video, Melby identifies himself as a veteran and states that "an illegal coup attempt" has "'weakened our nation and public confidence in our constitution and subverted the democratic process," the complaint says.
In the video, Melby calls on President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, and he calls for the arrest of multiple elected officials, including Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, as well as media figures Anderson Cooper and Mark Zuckerberg. He also says city officials have allowed "Antifa to grow into a terrorist organization."
In a declaration for a pending custody matter in their divorce case, Melby's ex-wife states that he has a history of mental health issues after being deployed five times to the Middle East and the Balkans. In 2014, those filings say, Melby admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital for 30 days.
The filings also say Melby tweeted in October 2020 that he wanted to become licensed to teach firearm courses but was frustrated that licensing required taking a two-day course led by the National Rifle Association.
"Can someone explain why after over 15 years of professional weapons handling experience and over 12 years of small group instruction experience; I have to do a 2 day class from the NRA to be considered 'legit' and able to instruct [Concealed Handgun License] classes in Oregon?" Melby tweeted last fall, according to the filings. His Twitter account is currently suspended.
Melby is currently being held in the Multnomah County Jail. Bail is set at $25,000.
Federal Protective Service officers located five spent 9mm bullet casings, three spent bullets and three bullet holes in plywood attached to the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse's stone columns, prosecutors said.
According to the DOJ's website, the crime of destruction of government property is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or 10 years in prison if the property damage exceeds $100.