More arrests in Capitol riot as authorities receive information to help identify suspects

Capitol Riots

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Police charged more Capitol rioters on Thursday, including a retired firefighter who is suspected of throwing a fire extinguisher at police during last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Robert Sanford, 55, of Chester, Pennsylvania, will appear in a virtual hearing in federal court in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Thursday to face charges of unlawful entry, civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding police.

According to court documents, Sanford was captured on video hurling what appears to be a fire extinguisher at police.

“The object appears to strike one officer, who was wearing a helmet, in the head. The object then ricochets and strikes another officer, who was not wearing a helmet, in the head. The object then ricochets a third time and strikes a third officer, wearing a helmet, in the head,” the documents say.

Peter Francis Stager of Arkansas is accused of assaulting a Capitol Police officer.

FBI arrived at a home in Conway Thursday evening thought to be connected to Stager, calling to the house from a bullhorn that they have a warrant for the occupant’s arrest.

Shortly after 7 p.m., FBI Special Agent William Kennedy said that Stager gave himself up to federal and local law enforcement. Kennedy said that a warrant for his arrest was issued sometime mid-afternoon.

Authorities said Stager was seen in videos post to social media of the riot in which he was holding an American flag on a pole, using that pole as a weapon to strike a member of the Washington Metro Police Department who was working to secure the building.

Investigators claim a second video shows Stager saying, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building,” referring to the lawmakers in the U.S. Capitol.

A witness told the investigators that Stager said he did not realize the person he was hitting with the flagpole was a police officers, believing instead that the person was “ANTIFA.”

Authorities, however, said that photos of the events clearly show markings identifying the victim as an officer with the MPD.

The witness said Stager claimed that he wanted to apologize for his behavior and planned to turn himself into authorities, and only made the comments he did on camera because he had been hit with pepper spray.

Authorities used Arkansas state records to identify Stager. It is expected that he will face charges of obstructing a federal officer, civil disorder and other crimes.

In addition to Stager, Gravette resident Richard Barnett is also in federal custody in connection with the riot.

Barnett made headlines after breaking into the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, sitting at a desk in the office and taking mail from the desk.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said that Kevin Seefried, who was photographed carrying a Confederate flag during the riots, was arrested in Delaware along with his son, Hunter Seefried. They were arrested Thursday after authorities used the image to help identify him, federal prosecutors said.

FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump, including Aaron Mostofsky, right, and Kevin Seefried, left, walk down the stairs outside the Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol, in Washington. Prosecutors say Seefried, photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag during a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol was arrested Thursday, Jan. 14, after authorities used the image to help identify him. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Prosecutors said both entered the Senate Building through a broken window before Kevin Seefried was seen carrying around the Confederate flag in photos that caught attention from news outlets and social media.

Both were charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and degradation of government property.

The men were identified after the FBI was told by a co-worker of Hunter Seefried that he had bragged about being in the capitol with his father, court documents say. The FBI agent wrote that authorities compared Kevin Seefried’s driver’s license photo to images of him carrying the flag during the riot to confirm his identity.

They both spoke voluntarily to the FBI on Tuesday and admitted they had been present at the riot, according to court documents.

“Kevin Seefried also explained that he brought the Confederate Battle flag to the District of Columbia from his home in Delaware where it is usually displayed outside,” the agent wrote.

The Justice Department has brought more than 70 criminal cases so far since supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, trying to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

Many of the people arrested so far were captured on social media bragging about taking part in the assault, and the FBI has been combing through more than 100,000 videos and photographs.

After the violence was quelled, most of the rioters were allowed to leave the Capitol, meaning law enforcement has had to track them down in the days since.

One such person was Hunter Ehmke, charged by the Justice Department on Thursday with damaging government property, obstructing an official proceeding and violent entry.

According to court documents, a Capitol Police officer witnessed Ehmke smash a window at the Capitol and rushed at him with his shield to try to stop him.

The officer “lost grip of the shield and fell” into shards of glass, the documents say. Police managed to detain Ehmke but the crowd started to become aggressive and threatened police not to take Ehmke away.

“Due to the growing aggression of the large crowd that far outnumbered the officers and the exigent circumstances at the time, officers made the decision to allow Ehmke depart under his own power,” according to the government’s statement of facts.

Ehmke was due to be in court in the Central District of California Thursday afternoon.

The deadly violence last week led to the impeachment of Trump on Wednesday by the House of Representatives on a charge of inciting an insurrection.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NewsNation affiliate KLRT contributed to this report.

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