Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The race is on to identify and stop the inaugural rioters

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They came prepared for war. Leroy Coffman parked his red GMC Sierra pickup truck a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol at 9:15 a.m. on January 6. Inside the truck, legal documents allege, were 11 Molotov cocktails containing a napalm substance, a handgun, a shotgun, a rifle, a crossbow with bolts, several machetes, camouflage smoke devices and a stun gun. Coffman was also said to have had two other weapons on his person.

Also in his car, according to the documents, there were handwritten notes about elected officials and what were believed to be contact details for talk show hosts and other politicians. “The handwritten messages in the accused’s van raise serious concerns about his intentions and suggest that these weapons were intended to be used in an effort to violently attack our elected officials,” the legal document reads. He adds that law enforcement officials believe there might have been an intention to share weapons with others.

Coffman was not alone on January 6. Among the crowd that stormed the US Capitol were armed individuals ready for violence. In the days following the attack, open source intelligence researchers, journalists and law enforcement began the daunting task of trying to locate these individuals. Among steadfast Republicans, QAnon conspiracy theorists and elected officials, one group stands out: highly organized, armed, and apparently specially trained to not only storm Capitol Hill, but also to commit acts of violence. Their behavior has raised concerns that far-right groups and others bent on provoking violence are targeting the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20. Or even before. Over time, the race is on to identify and disrupt those who can take action.

Early legal documents and expense sheets read by the George Washington University Extremism Program provides a glimpse into what could have happened on Capitol Hill. So far, there are 20 gun-related charges and a handful more for theft, assault, threats and civil unrest, according to the Extremism Program. Cleveland Grower Meredith, Jr., who visited Washington, DC but was too late for the protests, is alleged having had an assault rifle, a Glock firearm emblazoned with an American flag and 2,500 rounds. Text messages allegedly found on her phone included threats to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The time of war,” read a message.

Legal documents made public to this day reveal no coordination between the people they appoint and, of course, all are innocent until proven guilty. (At the start of the legal process, Coffman did not plead and his lawyer argued he had no criminal record. Legal representatives have not returned a request for comment.) At the time of writing, the FBI has charged more than 70 people, has more than 170 open files, and has received more than 100,000 photos, videos, and more. digital media. Further arrests will inevitably follow.

In the days following the attack, evidence emerged on social media showing some of those inside the Capitol building. talk about the layout of the building and how to move around its labyrinth of corridors. Another video shows an organized line of camouflage-clad individuals walking through the crowd and climb the steps of the Capitol. People suspected of wearing zippered handcuffs have also been identified, while one other person has been identified. having packed a military cooked dish.

Many were surprised by what happened on January 6, but now no one should have the slightest doubt that subsequent attacks are not only possible, but probable. Capitol Police told lawmakers they were monitoring three sets of plans that could pose threats to members of Congress, the Huffington Post reported. As the PA learned that the FBI warns of possible armed protests the 50 state capitals as well as Washington, DC, and a Told police chiefs must be on the alert.


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