Federal prosecutors detail initial charges in Capitol riot

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he riots inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors have released details of some of the first dozen or so people charged in Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, and law enforcement authorities say they are “sparing no expense” to track down others who took part in the chaos.

Among those charged so far are a man authorities said drove a pickup truck full of 11 Molotov cocktails to the Capitol, a man who trespassed into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and stole mail from her desk, and a West Virginia state delegate who filmed himself storming the Capitol Building.

“We’re sparing no expense or effort or personnel to root those perpetrators out and find them where they went back to,” said Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office of the FBI.

Ken Kohl, an official with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., said there are hundreds of prosecutors and agents working round-the-clock.

Lonnie Coffman, of Alabama, was charged with possession of a destructive device after authorities said they found nearly a dozen Molotov cocktails in his pickup truck parked near the Capitol.

An affidavit filed by prosecutors said police found 11 Mason jars filled with gasoline and melted Styrofoam inside Coffman’s truck “that would essentially constitute homemade napalm,” Cole said. In addition, an officer found an M4 assault rifle and a handgun inside his truck, and a handgun in his pocket when Coffman was arrested, Cole said.

Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, was arrested Friday morning in Little Rock, authorities said. Barnett was seen in widely circulated photos with his foot on Pelosi’s desk and, later, outside the Capitol, holding mail addressed to her. He’s charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct, and theft of public property.

In one of the videos cited in court documents, Barnett told reporters outside the Capitol Building that he didn’t steal the envelope. “I bled on it, because they were Macing me,” he said. He also claimed he left a quarter on Pelosi’s desk as payment.

Mark Leffingwell was charged with entering restricted grounds, and pushing and punching a police officer.

Christopher Michael Alberts, of Maryland, was charged with entering the Capitol and carrying a 9mm handgun.

A total of 11 others were charged with entering the Capitol during the incursion, including West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans, who reportedly livestreamed himself during the incursion, prosecutors said.

West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans, left, is given the oath of office Dec. 14, 2020, in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. Evans recorded video of himself and fellow supporters of President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, prompting calls for his resignation and thousands of signatures on an online petition advocating his removal. (Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP)

Five people died in the melee, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was injured responding to the mob, and a woman, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a U.S. Capitol officer as the mob attempted to break into the House chamber.

Earlier Friday, acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen released a statement saying the FBI and D.C. police are jointly investigating the death of Officer Brian Sicknick.

Officials thanked the public for sending in tips identifying people who participated in the riot. Tips can be submitted online at FBI.gov/USCapitol.

“Every tip that has been provided to us is being looked at thoroughly and completely,” D’Antuono said.

Many of those charged hail from outside the D.C. area, and traveled to the District to take part.

“I want to stress this: Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” D’Antuono said.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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