Court docs: Silver Spring man arrested after GPS monitor data put him at Capitol riot

A Silver Spring, Maryland, man suspected of taking part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month was on probation for a previous offense and wearing a GPS monitor when he joined the siege, authorities said.

In court papers filed in D.C. District Court, authorities said they used GPS coordinates, and social media photos and videos, to identify Bryan Betancur as a participant in the Capitol riot.

According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, investigators were first tipped off to Betancur’s involvement by his probation officer, who said Betancur had received permission to travel from Maryland to D.C. on Jan. 6 because he claimed he would be handing out Bibles with the group Gideon International.

Instead, authorities said they tracked Betancur’s GPS location to the White House Ellipse and then to the west front of the Capitol, including inside police barricades, which were restricted to visitors.

Betancur was arrested Sunday. He is charged with entering a restricted building or grounds, unlawful activities on the Capitol grounds, disorderly conduct and other charges.

The affidavit identifies Betancur as a “self-professed white supremacist,” who voiced support for James Alex Fields, the man convicted of killing Heather Heyer in the 2017 car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and who, at one point, expressed a desire to “run over people with a vehicle and kill people in a church.”

The documents said Betancur later indicated “he had changed his mind about hurting people.”

Betancur was previously convicted of fourth-degree burglary and lived with his mother in Silver Spring after he was released from custody in November, according to court documents.

The documents said authorities also used several social media photos to piece together Betancur’s whereabouts during the riot, including a photo appearing to show Betancur on the inauguration scaffolding set up on the west front of the Capitol, helping unfurl a Confederate battle flag and another photo appearing to show Betancur in a Proud Boys T-shirt, flashing the “OK” hand signal, which is frequently used by white supremacist groups.

Betancur is one of some 100 people arrested since the Jan. 6 siege, which was carried out by a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters, who disrupted the official count of Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory, overseen by Vice President Mike Pence.

So far, about 60 people have been charged in federal court with offenses related to riot, according to an online list of cases maintained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.

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