Capitol Rioters Meant To ‘Capture And Assassinate’ Officials, Say Federal Prosecutors

by : Cameron Frew on : 15 Jan 2021 12:05
Capitol Rioters Meant To 'Capture And Assassinate' Officials, Say Federal ProsecutorsPA Images

Federal prosecutors believe rioters who stormed the US Capitol intended to ‘capture and assassinate officials’.

Five people died, including one police officer, as a result of the deadly siege on the Washington DC building on January 6. In photographs from the chaos, several supporters were seen to be armed, whether it be guns or blunt weapons. One man was caught on camera carrying zip ties in the Senate chamber.


As part of the prosecution of Jacob Chansley – also known as Jake Angeli, the QAnon follower in the horned helmet with the American flag spear – it’s the view of federal authorities that rioters had starker goals than simply entering the Capitol.

Jacob ChansleyPA Images

As reported by Reuters, a detention memo written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona revealed that Chansley left a note for Vice President Mike Pence which read: ‘It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.’

The prosecutors wrote: ‘Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.’


Online posts prior to January 6 directly matched the concerns of prosecutors, with one reading: ‘I’m thinking it will be literal war on that day. Where we’ll storm offices and physically remove and even kill all the D.C. traitors and reclaim the country.’ The phrase ‘Storm the Capitol’ was also used 100,000 times on social media in the preceding month.

Capitol RiotPA Images

Chansley’s charges ‘active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government’, although his lawyer says Trump should pardon him as he incited the siege in the first place. Prosecutors also warned ‘the insurrection is still in progress’ in the lead up to Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

The FBI has more than 200 suspects in connection with the Capitol, with more arrests being made each day. However, only a handful are facing serious charges, such as felony violations of the Riot Act. Heavier charges are starting to mount – for example, retired firefighter Robert Sanford is charged with throwing a fire extinguisher at a police officer’s head.

Trump supportersPA Images

As per CNN, FBI Director Chris Wray said during a recent briefing: ‘We know who you are if you’re out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you.’

With regards to inauguration security, he said: ‘Our posture is aggressive. It’s going to stay that way though the inauguration. So in that vein, we and our partners have already arrested more than 100 individuals for their criminal activities in last week’s siege of the Capitol and continue to pursue countless other related investigations.’

Wray added: ‘We’re monitoring all incoming leads – whether calls for armed protests, potential threats that grow out of the January 6 breach of the Capitol or other kinds of potential threats leading up to inaugural events and various other targets.’


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Capitol, Riots, US


Reuters and 1 other
  1. Reuters

    U.S. says Capitol rioters meant to 'capture and assassinate' officials - filing

  2. CNN

    Federal government executes Corey Johnson following prolonged legal fight