As participants in the Capitol riot continue to be apprehended by authorities, a former firefighter who allegedly threw a fire extinguisher at police officers has now been arrested. According to an affidavit from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, 55-year-old Robert Sanford of Pennsylvania was taken into custody and has been charged with four federal counts: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly or disruptive conduct on capitol grounds, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers while engaged in the performance of official duties.
Sanford is alleged to have thrown a fire extinguisher at police officers, all of whom were struck in the head. One of the officers was not wearing a helmet. In a statement, Sanford's attorney, Enrique Latoison, stated that his client made a "split-second decision," and is upset at the outcome.
"Everyone was in a mob mentality," Latoison added. The lawyer also claimed that Sanford never entered the Capitol and that the fire extinguisher he threw was empty, He also claimed that none of the officers who were stuck reported injuries. However, both The Associated Press and The New York Times have reported that U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was struck by a fire extinguisher. Sicknick later died, but none of the charges Sanford is currently facing are related to Sicknick's death, so it is unclear if the two situations are related.
BREAKING: @WSJ reports: A retired Pennsylvania firefighter was arrested today for allegedly throwing a fire extinguisher that hit 3 police officers at the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol as captured on videohttps://t.co/30WFdH2MVyJanuary 14, 2021
It is alleged that Sanford was caught on video as he picked up the fire extinguisher and launched it at the law enforcement officers. One of the officers claims to have "felt a hard strike" on his helmet while he was attempting to control the violent crowd. When he looked, he saw the object lying on the ground, and deduced that this is what hit him.
Sanford's arrest comes as CNN reports that a new court filing revealed that authorities believe many of the pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials." In legal documents, government prosecutors specifically named Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as the "QAnon Shaman," as someone who implied this was the case. "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," the prosecutors wrote. At this time, federal authorities and prosecutors from across the country are working to arrest and charge anyone who took part in the act of domestic terrorism on the United States Capitol.