Investigators have identified more than 200 suspects in their probe of the January 6th attack at the US Capitol and the number of people arrested on criminal charges has exceeded 100, FBI Director Chris Wray said Thursday.
Nearly a week after the riot, US officials said they were combing through mountains of evidence and vowed to aggressively seek out those who perpetrated the brazen attack on the U.S. Capitol. Though most of the charges brought so far have been misdemeanors, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said the Justice Department was considering bringing sedition charges against some of the rioters, effectively accusing them of attempting to overthrow or defeat the government.
“This is only the beginning,” Sherwin said. “We’re going to focus on the most significant charges as a deterrent because, regardless of it was just a trespass in the Capitol or if someone planted a pipe bomb, you will be charged and you will be found.”
Federal prosecutors and the FBI said this week they are pursing dozens more suspects who have been identified through photos and videos from the January 6th melee and tips from the public.
Social media played a huge role in law enforcement tracking these protesters down. Many rioters posted on various platforms throughout the chaos, sharing images and video of themselves and the people with them.
The count by The Associated Press resulted from a nationwide review of court records and announcements of arrests issued by law enforcement agencies. The charges range from misdemeanour curfew violations in the District of Columbia to federal felonies related to the assault of law enforcement officers, theft of government property and possessing firearms and explosives.
Those newly arrested Wednesday include:
- 56-year-old Robert Keith Packer, of Newport News, Virginia. His mugshot appears to match the bearded man photographed at the Capitol wearing a hoodie emblazoned with “Camp Auschwitz” and the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a translation of the German phrase from the gates of the Nazi concentration camp where more than 1.1 million Jews and others were murdered during World War II.
- Douglas Allen Sweet, of Grimstead, Virginia, was also arrested Wednesday for his alleged participation in the riot. Court records for Sweet show he faces similar counts as Packer does, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
- 34-year-old Aaron Mostofsky, the son of a prominent Brooklyn judge, was arrested Tuesday after being seen storming the U.S. Capitol building with other pro-Trump rioters last Wednesday. Mostofsky was caught on camera, clad in fur and wearing a bullet-proof police vest, inside the Capitol building. He faces four charges, including theft of government property and unlawful entry.
- Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was photographed on the Senate floor carrying zip-tie handcuffs and wearing a military-style helmet and vest, authorities said. He confirmed to The New Yorker that he was the man in the photographs and claimed he found the handcuffs on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said.
- Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, is a regular at pro-Trump events and a known follower of QAnon. He has been widely referred to as the “Q Shaman,” a moniker that was only reinforced after photos circulated of him holding an American flag while wearing a fur hat with horns that had red, white and blue face paint during the Capitol Hill siege.
“We know who you are if you’re out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said during an inauguration security briefing at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington with Vice President Mike Pence.
“My advice to people who might be inclined to follow in the footsteps of those who engaged in the kind of activity we saw last week is stay home,” he added. “Look at what’s happening now to the people who were involved in the Capitol siege.”