What we know about the “unprecedented” Capitol riot arrests

What we know about the "unprecedented" Capitol riot
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America watched as hordes of rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 — crushing through windows, pressing up stairways, and sending lawmakers and law enforcement running for their lives. The flood of protesters who streamed into the Capitol that day left federal authorities with an equally immense task: finding and charging those responsible.

The Department of Justice told CBS News that as of May 6, approximately 440 defendants had been arrested since the attack. The government has said in court filings that in addition to the more than 400 people who had already been charged, federal prosecutors still expect to charge at least 100 more.

Prosecutors have called the case “unprecedented” in scale, and the government said in a March court filing that the Capitol attack “is likely the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

As law enforcement continues to round up alleged rioters, here’s what CBS News has learned about those who were arrested:

Around 440 defendants have been charged

Around 440 defendants have been arrested in the federal investigation, the Justice Department said on May 6, and CBS News has reviewed court documents for 438 cases that have been unsealed. Of those, at least 178 defendants were also indicted by grand juries. 

Suspects have been charged for alleged assaults on officers, destruction of government property and conspiracy

More than 125 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, and at least 35 of those were charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon, the Department of Justice said. About 140 officers were assaulted during the attack, according to a Justice Department spokesperson.

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Dozens have been charged with conspiracy, a charge that alleges defendants coordinated with others to commit an offense, including 16 Oath Keepers who have been indicted together in a single conspiracy case. 

More than 350 were charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and more than 35 were charged with entering the Capitol with a dangerous or deadly weapon, the spokesperson said. 

More than 25 defendants have been charged under a destruction of government property statute. During proceedings for three of those defendants, the government said their crimes amounted to “terrorism” — an allegation that is not itself a charge but could influence prison sentences if they are found guilty.

Dozens of defendants have served in the military

At least 48 of those arrested are current or former military members. Of those, one is an active duty service member, four are current part-time troops in the Army Reserve or National Guard, and 42 previously served in the military, according to attorney statements, military service records and court documents obtained by CBS News.

At least 21 have served in the U.S. Marines, 17 have served in the Army, two served in the Navy and two served in the Air Force. One defendant, Jeffrey McKellop, was a communications sergeant with the Army Special Forces, a group known colloquially as the Green Berets.

The Army Reserve shared the following statement with CBS News: “The U.S. Army Reserve takes all allegations of Soldier or Army civilian involvement in extremist groups seriously and will address this issue in accordance with Army regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to ensure due process. Extremist ideologies and activities directly oppose our values and beliefs and those who subscribe to extremism have no place in our ranks.”

2 charged after officer died after Capitol ri…


At least 10 worked as law enforcement officers

At least 10 of those arrested were either former police officers or were employed as law enforcement officers at the time of the riot, according to court documents and employment records. Prosecutors also charged one current firefighter and one retired firefighter.

Of the five police officers employed at the time of the riot, four have since lost their jobs. An officer in North Cornwall Township, Pennsylvania, was suspended without pay after he was charged with, among other crimes, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. Houston police officer Tam Dinh Pham and Monmouth County correctional police officer Marissa Suarez both resigned after they were arrested, and two Virginia police officers were fired after prosecutors charged them for their alleged conduct at the Capitol.

Prosecutors have arrested two former officers with the New York Police Department: Thomas Webster, who is accused of lunging at a Capitol police officer with a flagpole, and Sara Carpenter, whose arrest, an NYPD spokesperson said, was the culmination of the NYPD’s close work with the FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce.

Nicholes Lentz — who the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said is a former officer in the North Miami Beach and Fort Pierce police departments — was charged after posting videos from inside the Capitol. In a video, he said, “We’re not here to hurt any cops of course. I love my boys in blue, but this is overwhelming for them.”

Authorities are investigating hundreds of thousands of tips

The FBI is still looking for suspects accused of attacks on officers and members of the media, and continues to seek the public’s help identifying rioters on its wanted list

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in March that citizens from around the country had sent the FBI more than 270,000 digital media tips. Wray said, “With their help, we’ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations in all but one of our 56 field offices.”

The government said it has issued a combined total of over 900 search warrants and the investigation has included more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and body-worn camera footage from multiple law enforcement agencies. The government has also gathered approximately 1,600 electronic devices, the results of hundreds of searches of electronic communication providers, over 80,000 reports and 93,000 attachments related to law enforcement interviews and other investigative steps, authorities said in a filing.

Defendants have come from at least 45 states

The alleged rioters come from at least 45 states outside of Washington, D.C. Among those arrested whose home states were known, the most were from Texas, with at least 44 Texans charged so far. Pennsylvania and New York each had at least 37 residents arrested and Florida had 35.

Authorities have linked dozens of defendants to extremist groups

Authorities have connected at least 62 alleged rioters to extremist groups, including the Proud BoysOath KeepersThree Percenters, Texas Freedom Force and the conspiracy ideology QAnon.

More than 50 women have been arrested

While those arrested in the January 6 mob were mostly men, at least 51 women have also been arrested for their alleged participation.

Defendants’ ages span six decades

Among the 131 defendants whose ages are known, the average age is 42. The youngest-known alleged rioter is 18-year-old Bruno Joseph Cua, whom prosecutors accused of assaulting an officer after he posted online, “President Trump is calling us to FIGHT!” 

The oldest is Gary Wickersham, who, according to his attorney, is an 80-year-old Army veteran. Authorities said Wickersham walked through the Capitol during the siege and later told authorities he believed he was authorized to enter because he pays his taxes. 

Recent updates on notable cases

Senator Ron Johnson has sent two letters to acting U.S. Capitol Police chief that appeared to cast doubt on official accounts that said Officer Brian Sicknick’s death was related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, leading to a war of words with the department.

A small number of Capitol riot defendants — at least three charged in the federal criminal investigation — have been accused of carrying firearms. But guns weren’t the only threat. According to court documents reviewed by CBS News, 39 defendants have been accused of wielding “deadly or dangerous” weapons that weren’t firearms, including Tasers, tomahawk axes, crowbars, flagpoles, a knife, an ice axe, a firecracker, a stun gun, baseball bats, fire extinguishers, a wooden club and chemical spray.

Former President Donald Trump asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell for allegedly inciting the crowd on January 6.

Another alleged member of the Oath Keepers has been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. Though 61-year-old James Breheny was not charged with coordinating with other members of the group, prosecutors say he invited the Oath Keepers’ leader to a planning meeting prior to the attack.

Paulina Smolinski contributed to this report.

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