'Armed insurrection': What weapons did the Capitol rioters carry?

·8 min read
'Armed insurrection': What weapons did the Capitol rioters carry?

Recently, Scott MacFarlane, an NBC4 reporter in Washington who covers the Capitol riot prosecutions, tweeted, "As of tonight at least 65 of the Jan. 6 defendants have been charged with 'entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon.' A counterpunch to those who argued this didn't appear like 'an armed insurrection.'"

It was just a tweet, which, by definition, can't contain much information, but it left open the question: What weapons did they have? What were the arms in the "armed insurrection"?

The Justice Department maintains a website listing the defendants and the federal charges against them in the sprawling Jan. 6 investigation. At this moment, about 670 people have been charged, many of them with misdemeanors such as "Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building."

Of the cases involving weapons, there are four main charges: "Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers Using a Dangerous Weapon"; "Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon"; "Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon"; and "Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon."

Going through the Justice Department site, as well as some media databases, I counted 82 defendants who have been charged with at least one of those offenses. It's possible I missed a few, but I think they represent the vast majority of those who face weapons-related charges in the Capitol riot investigation. In each charge, prosecutors have specified the weapon the defendant is accused of using. Below is a list of all the defendants, and all the weapons:

DEFENDANT

WEAPON

ALAM, Zachary Jordan

Helmet

ALBERTS, Christopher Michael

Handgun (Alberts was arrested after the riot was over, at 7:25 p.m., on a street near the Capitol and was accused of having a firearm.)

BALLARD, Thomas John

Police baton

BARNETT, Richard

Stun gun, walking stick

BARNHART, Logan James

Baton, flagpole, crutch

BLACK, Joshua Matthew

Knife

BLAIR, David Alan

Flagpole, knife

BROCKHOFF, Nicholas James

Fire extinguisher

BYERLY, Alan William

Taser

CALDWELL, Daniel Ray

Pepper or mace spray

CAPUCCIO, Steven

Baton

CHRESTMAN, William

Ax handle

COFFEE, Luke Russell

Crutch

COFFMAN, Lonnie Leroy

Multiple firearms (Coffman is not charged with being on Capitol grounds; allegedly had two guns on his person, plus firearms in his truck parked on 1st Street SE in Washington D.C.)

COPELAND, Landon Kenneth

Metal fence

CUA, Bruno Joseph

Baton

DEMPSEY, David Nicholas

Crutch, metal pole, "lacrimal spray," and "club-like object"

EISENHART, Lisa Marie

Taser

FAIRLAMB, Scott Kevin

Baton

FOY, Michael Joseph

Hockey stick

GIESWEIN, Robert

Baseball bat, "aerosol irritant spray"

GOSSJANKOWSKI, Vitali

Taser

HARKRIDER, Alex Kirk

Tomahawk ax

IBRAHIM, Mark Sami

Firearm

JACKSON, Emanuel

Metal baseball bat

JAMES, Aaron

Shield

JENKINS, Shane Leedon

Tomahawk ax, flagpole, desk drawer, and "stick-like objects"

JENSEN, Douglas Austin

Knife

JOHNSON, Paul Russell

Metal crowd control barrier

JONES, Chad Barrett

Flagpole

JUDD, David Lee

Firecracker

KHATER, Julian Elie

Chemical spray (Accused of attacking Officer Brian Sicknick)

KLEIN, Federico Guillermo

Shield

KRAMER, Philip Edward

Snowboarding helmet, walking cane, Master Lock, climbing rope

LANG, Edward Jacob

Bat, shield

LANGUERAND, Nicholas

Traffic barrier, "stick-like objects"

LAZAR, Samuel

Chemical irritant

MCABEE, Ronald Colton

Baton, flagpole, crutch, and "reinforced gloves"

MCCAUGHEY, Patrick E. III

Shield

MCGREW, James Burton

Pole

MCHUGH, Sean Michael

Bear spray, "metal sign"

MCKELLOP, Jeffrey

Flagpole

MEREDITH, Cleveland Grover Jr.

Firearms (Meredith arrived in Washington after the riot was over but was charged with having three guns in his possession.)

MELLIS, Jonathan Gennaro

Stick

MILLER, Matthew Ryan

Fire extinguisher

MINK, Jorden Robert

Baseball bat

MUNAFO, Jonathan Joshua

Flagpole

MUNCHEL, Eric

Taser

NEEFE, Marshall

Wooden club, "metal sign frame"

NICHOLS, Ryan Taylor

Crowbar, pepper spray

OWENS, Grady Douglas

Skateboard

PADILLA, Joseph Lino

Flagpole, "large metal sign"

PALMER, Robert Scott

Fire extinguisher, "stick-like object"

PERKINS, Michael Steven

Flagpole

POLLOCK, Jonathan Daniel

Flagpole, riot shield

PONDER, Mark K.

Pole

POWELL, Rachel Marie

Ice ax, "large wooden pole"

QUAGLIN, Christopher Joseph

Shield, pepper spray

RANDOLPH, Stephen Chase

Metal crowd control barrier

REFFITT, Guy Wesley

Handgun

RODRIGUEZ, Daniel

Flagpole, "electroshock weapon"

RODRIGUEZ, Edward Francisco

Chemical irritant

SABOL, Jeffrey

Baton, flagpole, crutch

SAMSEL, Ryan Stephen

Metal crowd control barrier

SANFORD, Robert

Fire extinguisher

SCHAFFER, Jon

Bear spray

SCHWARTZ, Peter J.

Pepper spray

SILLS, Geoffrey William

Baton

SMITH, Charles Bradford

Knife

STAGER, Peter Francis

Baton, flagpole, crutch

STEVENS, Tristan Chandler

Shield

SULLIVAN, John Earle

Knife

TAAKE, Andrew Quentin

Pepper spray, metal whip

TANIOS, George Pierre

Chemical spray (Accused of attacking Officer Brian Sicknick)

TAYLOR, Russell

Knife

THOMPSON, Devlyn

Baton

WATSON, William

Pepper spray

WEBSTER, Thomas

Flagpole

WESTBURY, Isaac

Shield

WHITTON, Jack Wade

Baton, flagpole, crutch

WILSON, Duke Edward

Pipe

WORRELL, Christopher John

Pepper spray


A few observations on the list. First, on the issue of guns. Five suspects — Christopher Michael Alberts, Lonnie Leroy Coffman, Mark Sami Ibrahim, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., and Guy Wesley Reffitt — are charged with possessing firearms. But none are charged with using them during the riot.

Alberts was arrested at 7:25 p.m., after the riot was over, when police enforcing the District of Columbia curfew suspected he had a handgun under his coat as he was leaving.

Coffman was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. after he told police that he was trying to get to his parked pickup truck. Officers found two handguns on Coffman's person and two more guns, along with possible bomb-making materials, in the truck.

Ibrahim was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who had given his notice to resign and was on personal leave on Jan. 6; at the riot, he was carrying his DEA-issued badge and pistol.

Meredith was not in Washington at all for the riot. He arrived later that evening after allegedly texting a threatening message about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meredith told police that "he had two firearms in his truck, and he knew that he was not supposed to have the firearms in Washington, DC. Therefore, he moved the firearms to his trailer," according to court documents. Officers found a handgun, a rifle, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the trailer.

Finally, court papers say Reffitt had a handgun on his person on Jan. 6.

So, those are the gun cases. Many observers have pointed out that other rioters surely had guns. Since so few were arrested and searched at the scene, that is impossible to know. But it's certainly possible. What is more certain is that none of the suspects fired any guns at any point during the riot. The only shot that was fired during that time was by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbitt as she tried to force her way into an area near the House chamber.

As for the rest of the weapons, six defendants are charged with having a knife, although none are accused of using the weapon on another person. Five defendants are accused of having a Taser or stun gun. Three are charged with having an ax. Four are charged with having a baseball bat. Seven are charged with having a crutch. Eleven are charged with having a baton of some sort. Thirteen are accused of having some sort of pepper or other irritant spray. Nineteen are charged with having a pole, usually a pole for the flags they carried. Eight are accused of having a shield, several of them police shields they apparently took at the scene.

Some of the weapons were obviously brought with the intention of being in a fight. Others were clearly improvised on the spur of the moment; in one case, the deadly or dangerous weapon used was a desk drawer. In another, it was a traffic barrier. In yet another, it was a helmet. That doesn't mean those objects could not be dangerous; one could beat a person to death with a desk drawer. But it does suggest the rioter did not arrive at the Capitol bent on armed insurrection.

In addition, the overall numbers are relatively small. Eighty-two people charged with weapons-related offenses, out of how many? That is about 12% of the 670 or so currently charged. And 670 is smaller than the total number of rioters on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Does that amount to an "armed insurrection"? Especially when just five people have been charged with possessing firearms, the weapon of choice for modern armed insurrectionists, and one of them didn't arrive until after it was all over, and none of them fired the weapons, even in the intensity of the physical struggle that day?

And that is the problem with the "armed insurrection" talking point. By any current American standard of civil disorder, what happened on Jan. 6 was a riot. There were some instigators, and there were many more followers. A small number were anticipating a fight, probably with antifa. And as the day went on, some people lost their heads and did things they should regret for a very long time. But a look at the Justice Department prosecutions simply does not make the case that it was an "armed insurrection."

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Tags: Capitol, Riots, January 6, Crime, Department of Justice

Original Author: Byron York

Original Location: 'Armed insurrection': What weapons did the Capitol rioters carry?

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