Federal authorities have tracked down and arrested another handful of accused Capitol rioters, including an Olympic gold medalist, a former Peace Corps member, a Texas florist, and a man who wore a sweatshirt with the phrase “Camp Auschwitz” on it as he stormed the Capitol.
Klete Keller, a two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer, was charged on Wednesday with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in the Capitol building, and impeding law enforcement.
A video posted by a reporter for Townhall showed the bearded 38-year-old standing in the middle of a group of rioters pushing back against cops who were trying to usher them out of the Capitol Rotunda. Keller can be seen in his U.S. Olympic team jacket—which had “USA” printed on the back and an Olympic patch on the front.
According to a criminal complaint, Keller, who performed at three Olympics and swam in a relay team with Michael Phelps, was identified after the riot by media outlets like SwimSwam.
The New York Times and Washington Post also spoke to former coaches and teammates who identified Keller based on his height and jacket. On Tuesday night, the Colorado real estate firm where Keller had worked for three years fired him “effective immediately.”
A Frederick, Maryland man who wore his work badge to the riot was also taken into custody on Wednesday on federal charges. Nicholas Rodean was fired by Navistar Direct Marketing after photos circulated of him at the Capitol.
Robert Keith Packer, who wore a sweatshirt with the phrase “Camp Auschwitz” on it as he entered the Capitol, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Newport News, Virginia on Wednesday.
Photos from the riot show Packer, 56, inside the Capitol wearing the sweatshirt that makes reference to the Nazi concentration camp in Poland where over 1 million people were killed during World War II. The bottom of the sweatshirt said “Work brings freedom,” which is a translation of the phrase that was on the concentration camp’s gates. In one photo, he displayed a shard of the broken nameplate from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Packer has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He is being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail and is expected to make his first court appearance in Norfolk on Wednesday.
The criminal complaint filed in Packer’s case credits media outlets and internet sleuths for identifying him. Additionally, Packer was seen in photos wearing the offensive sweatshirt a month prior to the riots.
A 36-year-old West Texas florist and one-time mayoral candidate, Jenny Cudd, was also arrested on Wednesday. She allegedly bragged online that “we” scaled a wall and charged through the doors to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
“We had to scale a wall to get there and we just pushed and pushed and pushed, and yelled, ‘Go’ and yelled, ‘Charge’, and we just pushed and pushed and pushed and we got in. There was a door that was open, we went through the door and we were inside,” Cudd said during a Facebook Live.
In an interview with NewsWest 9, Cudd claimed she used “we” in a general term. “I did not break any laws, I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or destroy any property,” she said.
A protester who gave a vivid account of seeing Air Force vet Ashli Babbitt fatally shot while trying to break into the Speaker’s Lobby was also arrested in New Jersey on Wednesday on disorderly conduct charges.
Thomas Baranyi, a 28-year-old former Peace Corps member, admitted to TV station WKRG that he had stormed the building and showed a reporter his bloodied right hand “because this could be you or your kids.”
“We had stormed into the chambers inside and there was a young lady who rushed through the windows,” Baranyi, who was wearing a blue New York Giants sweatshirt and a backward baseball hat with the phrase “Rebuild America Trump Pence 2016,” said. “A number of police and Secret Service were saying, ‘Get back, get down, get out of the way.’ She didn’t heed the call, and as we kind of raced up to grab people, pull them back, they shot her in the neck.” Baranyi is being held on a $100,000 bond.
A NJ man, Thomas Baranyi, who stood next to Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt when she was shot and killed during the Capitol riot, has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct pic.twitter.com/CIyfsghOWL
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) January 13, 2021
According to a probable cause affidavit, Baranyi admitted that, to enter the building, he was among a group who tore through scaffolding, flashbangs, and tear gas and “blitzed our way in through all the chambers just trying to get into Congress or whoever we could get into and tell them we need some kind of investigation into this.”
Chicago repairman Kevin James Lyons, 40, was charged Wednesday after allegedly entering Pelosi’s office and taking a picture of a plaque outside.
Prosecutors said his Instagram posts pointed to his involvement, including a map of the driving route to D.C. with the caption: “I refuse to tell my children that I sat back and did nothing. I’m heading to DC to STOP THE STEAL!”
When he was questioned by the FBI on Jan. 8, he said he “100% guaranteed, without incriminating himself” that he saw nothing being damaged inside the Capitol. According to a criminal complaint, he then said that he had a dream about “a lot of banging on doors, paper being throwing about [sic], and a mob of people. ”
When he was confronted with a photo of him outside Pelosi's office, he said: “Wow you are pretty good that was up for only an hour.”
Andrew Williams, a firefighter and paramedic for the Sanford Fire Department in Florida, was also arrested after being photographed inside the building. The FBI Norfolk Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested another man, Douglas Allen Sweet, on federal charges Wednesday.
Dozens of rioters have been rounded up in the days since they stormed the Capitol, including Richard Barnett, a self-described white nationalist from Arkansas who posed for gleeful photos in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office; Adam Johnson, a Florida stay-at-home dad who was photographed grinning while absconding with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern; and Jake Angeli, the shirt-less, horn-wearing Arizona resident known as the “QAnon Shaman.”
On Tuesday, a prominent Brooklyn judge’s son was arrested for stealing government property after he was pictured in the Capitol wearing a police bulletproof vest over fur pelts and carrying a plastic riot shield with Capitol Police insignia.
A 34-year-old Idaho man was also arrested after being photographed hanging off the balcony of the U.S. Senate, and Kevin Daniel Loftus, a 52-year-old man from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was arrested for entering a restricted building and for unlawful activity in the Capitol building.
According to a criminal complaint, prosecutors said photos posted on Facebook show Loftus holding an American flag and smiling in the halls of Congress. On one photo, he wrote “One of 700 inside” and “That’s right folks some of us are in it to win it.”
Loftus also commented on social media “I am wanted by the FBI for illegal entry” along with a link to an article with photos of suspects.
Babbitt was among four pro-Trump protesters who died last Wednesday. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was also killed after allegedly being struck with a fire extinguisher by rioters.
U.S. Attorney for D.C., Michael Sherwin, said during a Tuesday press conference that charges have been filed in 70 cases related to the riots, and investigators have opened up more than 170 subject files. He added that, at the end of the investigation, he expects to file charges in hundreds of criminal cases.
“The scope and scale of this investigation are really unprecedented,” he said.
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 6, 2021
The top prosecutor added that his office is pursuing a “mind-blowing” spectrum of charges, from trespassing to theft of potential national defense information to felony murder. He said they’re also looking into “significant felony cases, including sedition and conspiracy.”
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