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Court records reveal disturbing details about some charged in Capitol insurrection

Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

A retired Pennsylvania firefighter. Two off-duty Virginia police officers. An Olympic gold medalist, a man who carried a handful of zip ties and one who allegedly had 11 Molotov cocktails and an assault rifle in his pickup.

They are among the dozens facing federal charges in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building in an effort to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Many were tracked down after posting videos and photos on social media. One was turned in by his ex-wife, others by co-workers or acquaintances.

And a man who made it into the Senate chamber told authorities that he went to the Capitol because “they stole my country” and that once inside, “I pled the blood of Jesus on the Senate floor,” court documents show.

As authorities continue to conduct interviews, scour social media and gather tips in search of others involved in the first breach of the Capitol since 1814, they’re also warning that there could be more violence at protests across the country in the coming days and weeks.

Those charged so far are from at least 26 states and the District of Columbia, according to court documents: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

 

Among those charged was Robert Sanford, a retired Pennsylvania firefighter who allegedly threw a fire extinguisher that struck three officers.

Video footage showed a large group of police officers surrounded on at least three sides by a group of insurrectionists, according to the criminal complaint affidavit. In the video, a man is seen stepping over a short wall with a red object in his hands.

“Immediately after stepping over the short wall, the subject draws the red object, which appears to be a fire extinguisher, back in his right hand and then hurls the object at the group of police officers,” the affidavit said.

“The object appears to strike one officer, who was wearing a helmet, in the head. The object then ricochets and strikes another officer, who was not wearing a helmet, in the head. The object then ricochets a third time and strikes a third officer, wearing a helmet, in the head. Immediately after throwing the object, the Subject moves quickly in the opposite direction.”

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