1:25 PM PT -- Iced Earth bassist Luke Appleton has responded on behalf of his other bandmates over Jon Schaffer's alleged involvement in the Capitol insurrection ... and it sounds like they're not ready to throw him under the bus just yet.
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Luke writes, "We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days. Some of you have been concerned by our silence, which we understand. We needed some time to properly process the information and find out some facts before we made a statement."
He goes on to say that Iced Earth doesn't condone the violence or acts of any of the rioters at the Capitol, adding that their hearts go out to anyone adversely affected. The one thing he fails to do in his remarks ... call out Jon by name, or even acknowledge he might've been part of the mob.
What he says here (and doesn't say) is interesting ... sounds like they're still waiting on more information before fully admonishing their leader.
The founder and lead guitarist of heavy metal band Iced Earth is popular with the FBI these days, because he's now a wanted man.
Jon Schaffer was one of the rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday, and it's not like his presence was a big surprise. He's a die-hard Trumper who warned last month during a protest he and others like him were ready for violence if it came to that, and also warned the opposition ... "You're goin' down."
Schaffer is wanted for "unrest-related offenses" in connection with the failed coup attempt.
Schaffer’s involvement in the Capitol riot came a few months after he attended a D.C. Trump rally in November to protest against the election results.
Hansi Kursch, who's also in the band, Demons & Wizards, with Schaffer, was appalled at what he saw, saying ... "We are deeply shocked and our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased. We expressly distance ourselves from any kind of violence irrespective if applied against institutions or persons. The incidents will be thoroughly investigated and the responsible will be brought to justice. We ask for your understanding that in view of the hourly news situation we will not make any further comments at present."