Police arrest man who carried Pelosi lectern and horned Capitol intruder
US authorities continued to round up some of the most prominent suspects in the Capitol riot on Saturday, with the arrests of the so-called QAnon shaman and a man seen carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern away from the House of Representatives.
The detentions followed reports of arrests of others involved in the riot which Donald Trump incited on Wednesday.
On Friday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced charges against a man accused of bringing guns and molotov cocktails to Washington. Another was reported to have had an assault rifle and ammunition and told friends he planned to shoot Pelosi, the House speaker, or run her over.
In a Saturday lunchtime statement, the US attorney’s office for District of Columbia announced the arrest and charging of three suspects, among them Jacob Anthony Chansley of Arizona, who also goes by the name of Jake Angeli and who was photographed in horned headwear and dressed in fur pelts, in Vice-President Mike Pence’s seat in the Senate chamber.
The 33-year-old self-styled “QAnon shaman”, “entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants”, the statement said.
“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6ft in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade,” the attorney’s office said, adding that he was taken into custody on Saturday and charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds”.
The man seen carrying the speaker’s lectern, Adam Christian Johnson, 36, was booked into Florida’s Pinellas county jail on Friday night on a federal warrant.
On Saturday he was charged with “entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; one count of theft of government property; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds”, prosecutors said. Johnson is expected to be extradited to the capital for a court appearance this week.
Johnson, the US attorney’s office said, “illegally entered the United States Capitol and removed the Speaker of the House’s lectern from where it had been stored on the House side of the Capitol building. A search of open sources led law enforcement to Johnson, who is allegedly seen in a widely circulated photo inside the Capitol carrying the lectern.”
The FBI had been searching for Johnson, after pictures of his role in the riot went viral. The whereabouts of the lectern was not immediately known.
The third man whose arrest was announced on Saturday was Derrick Evans, 35, of West Virginia, a recently elected member of the state house of delegates. The Republican was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Evans broadcast his participation in Wednesday’s riots live on Facebook, the statement said, adding: “Evans is allegedly seen crossing the threshold of the doorway into the US Capitol and shouting, “We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
On Saturday, Evans resigned his state house seat.
All three men are being prosecuted by the US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia and investigated by the FBI and US Capitol police.
A man pictured sitting at Pelosi’s desk, 60-year-old Richard Barnett from Gravette, Arkansas, was also arrested. Having bragged to reporters about taking an envelope from the speaker’s office, he was reportedly charged with entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry and theft of public property.
The attack on the Capitol was incited by Trump, who told supporters to “fight like hell” against the supposedly stolen election which he in fact lost conclusively to Joe Biden.
Five people died, including a rioter shot by law enforcement and a police officer reportedly hit with a fire extinguisher while confronting intruders.
Calls for the president’s removal have continued to grow. On Friday night Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican senator to call for Trump to resign. Democrats in the House are preparing articles of impeachment charging Trump with inciting an insurrection and having “gravely endangered the security of the United States” and its institutions.
On Friday the DoJ said one Capitol attacker, Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70 and from Alabama, was alleged to have had in his vehicle “one black handgun, one M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition, and components for the construction of 11 ‘Molotov cocktails’ in the form of mason jars filled with ignitable substances, rags, and lighters”.
A statement said: “Coffman was [also] found to have on his person a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun [and] a 22-caliber derringer style handgun.
“… Coffman told officers that the mason jars contained melted Styrofoam and gasoline. [The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] advised that the combination of melted Styrofoam and gasoline is an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm because, when detonated, the substance causes the flammable liquid to better stick to objects that it hits.”
Coffman was charged with unlawful possession of a destructive device, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years, and carrying a pistol without a license under Washington DC law, which carries a term of up to five years.
Citing court documents, CNN reported that another attacker, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr, was alleged to have sent texts in which he said he had “a shit ton of … armour-piercing ammo” and wanted to “[put] a bullet in [Pelosi’s] noggin on Live TV”. He also reportedly said he had considered running Pelosi over.
FBI agents who searched Meredith’s truck and trailer reportedly found a Glock 19, a 9mm pistol and an assault rifle and “approximately hundreds of rounds of ammunition”.
Also facing federal charges, CNN reported, was Christopher Alberts of Maryland, accused of wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a handgun and ammunition on Capitol grounds.
Security arrangements for Biden’s inauguration, on 20 January, are under urgent review.