Federal authorities arrested an active-duty Marine Corps officer Thursday for his alleged position within the violent Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol wherein a horde of right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump disrupted a joint session of Congress to cease the certification of the 2020 election outcomes.
Marine Corps Major Christopher Warnagiris, 40, faces a slew of federal charges for his alleged position within the riot, together with “assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers,” “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” and “obstruction of justice/Congress.”
Of the over 400 individuals arrested on prices associated to the riot on the Capitol, over 40 have some form of navy affiliation. Warnagiris seems to be the primary active-duty service member charged.
A Marine Corps spokesperson instructed HuffPost that Warnagiris is a discipline artillery officer presently stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, the place he works to “improve the warfighting skills of senior commanders and their staffs,” based on an official description of the coaching program to which he’s assigned.
He joined the Marine Corps in 2002 and has served a number of deployments, together with within the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has acquired over a dozen navy awards.
Maj. J.A. Hernandez, a Marine Corps spokesperson, stated in an announcement that “participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isn’t tolerated by the Marine Corps.”
“We are proud of the fact that Marines come from every race, creed, cultural background and walk of life,” Hernandez stated. “We expect every Marine to treat their fellow Marines with dignity and respect. Those who can’t value the contributions of others, regardless of background, are destructive to our culture, our warfighting ability, and have no place in our ranks.”
Warnagiris’ arrest comes because the Pentagon struggles to take care of the extremists within the ranks of the U.S. navy. In February, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a military-wide stand-down order, requiring commanders to have “needed discussions” about extremism with troops.
Scholars of extremism have lengthy raised alarm in regards to the many far-right extremists serving within the navy, the place they obtain fight coaching they will then use on civilian targets.
According to a criminal complaint, safety digicam footage reveals Warnagiris — sporting a “dark backpack with bright green zippers, a military green backpack, and black and tan gloves” — violently getting into the Capitol on Jan. 6 after pushing previous law enforcement officials guarding doorways into the East Rotunda.
Once contained in the constructing, Warnagiris allegedly pressed his physique towards the door to maintain it open, pulling different rioters inside. The felony criticism alleges that the safety digicam footage, together with footage captured by RMG News, reveals him pushing again a police officer who tries to close the door closed.
On March 16, a member of the general public contacted the FBI after recognizing Warnagiris in images the company had posted of suspects on-line. FBI brokers obtained authorities pictures of Warnagiris and confirmed the resemblance. The brokers then interviewed considered one of Warnagiris’ co-workers at Quantico, who recognized him as the person within the video footage.
Warnagiris, who didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for remark, appeared in a federal court docket in Alexandria, Virginia, on Thursday, the place he acknowledged that he’s searching for an legal professional.
He was launched on private recognizance and instructed to not go away the Washington, D.C., metropolitan space with out prior permission from the court docket.
Jeff Houston, a spokesperson for the Naval Criminal Investigation Services, confirmed the company is working carefully with the FBI on the case however declined to remark additional.
Ryan Reilly contributed reporting.
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