Two of the men who were spotted in viral social media images during the US Capitol Hill riots last week, wearing full paramilitary gear and holding plastic zip-tie hand restraints, have been identified and arrested by authorities, according to a Justice Department press release.
One of them is a 30-year-old man named Eric Munchel, a former bartender from Nashville who was allegedly spotted in head-to-toe armour in the photos circulating online. He is accused by authorities of storming the Capitol with his mother. The other was identified as Larry Rendall Brock Jr, a retired army lieutenant colonel from Texas, who was also reportedly seen with plastic handcuffs.
Mr Munchel told The Times of London that he and his mother both wore bulletproof vests and entered the Capitol together. He also admitted to bringing a taser that he said was confiscated by the police during the riots. Details have now started to reveal the true scale of the violence that was planned for 6 January when a joint session of the Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections.
“We wanted to show that we’re willing to rise up, band together and fight if necessary. Same as our forefathers, who established this country in 1776. It was a kind of flexing of muscles,” Mr Munchel told the newspaper.
His mother Lisa Eisenhart, who said she drove with her son from Tennessee, was quoted as saying: “The left has everything: the media, organisations, the government. We have to organise if we’re going to fight back and be heard.” Ms Eisenhart, who works as a nurse, also said: “I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression.”
Mr Munchel said his intention was not to fight with the police, but “to show them that we can, and we will.”
After many contributions from people following this thread we now have confirmation that zip-tie guy is Eric Munchel, of Nashville, TN.
Eric is currently a bartender at Bartender at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille. pic.twitter.com/tK9xzB5BI7
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) January 9, 2021
Mr Brock, who has served in the air force for over 20 years was also photographed wearing protective gear and carrying “a white flex cuff, which is used by law enforcement to restrain and/or detain subjects,” the statement said. He was spotted in the Senate chamber and also coming out of Nancy Pelosi’s office which was vandalised, in a video shot by ITV news.
The photograph of rioters wearing specialised armours and restraining tools went viral and led to speculations that attackers came prepared to take lawmakers as hostages.
The release stated that both men have been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.