As the sun began to set against the U.S. Capitol building on the evening of January 6, a Reuters photographer captured an image of the iconic structure that is likely to live in infamy. In it, a dense crowd of supporters of Donald Trump have thronged the Capitol steps, their bodies illuminated by the bright light from the explosion of police munition. Near the left side of the frame, amid a plume of white smoke, a distinct red, white, and blue flag rises from the melee. It’s not the Stars and Stripes, but a Texas flag, one of many carried by Trump supporters at the president’s “Stop the Steal” rally that day.
Texans from across the state traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in the rally, with some engaging in disruptive behavior on flights before they’d even touched down in D.C. Once there, a handful would eventually storm into the Capitol, intending to overturn the results of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. In recent days, some Texans have been arrested for entering the building, and others identified as having participated in the rally. Here are some of them.
MORE CASES FILED: Texas man arrested and accused of “engaging in direct struggle” with police at US Capitol on Jan 6, “breaking” police line. He’s also accused of talking “civil war” on social media pic.twitter.com/MXdim5Oani
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) January 17, 2021
Daniel Page Adams
When he considered whether to charge Adams for his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol riot, an FBI investigator didn’t have to look very hard for evidence. Adams’s cousin from Louisiana, Cody Connell, had distributed videos on social media of the two men struggling with Capitol police officers and chasing them up the building’s steps amid clouds of tear gas, according to an eleven-page affidavit filed by the FBI. Adams, the affidavit states, engaged in a “direct struggle” with law enforcement officers who attempted to prevent him from breaking their line. The document adds that he shouted, “‘come on, let’s go, let’s go, come on, let’s go,’ in an apparent effort to encourage others to keep launching forward toward the officers and the Capitol building.” The men’s penchant for turning the camera toward their own faces, as well as their distinctive tattoos and mullets, assisted investigators in identifying them.
The affidavit says Connell communicated with at least two other Texans—who remain unnamed in the document—about purchasing firearms, ammunition, and body armor, which they allegedly planned to use during a return trip to Washington, D.C., ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. A witness told the FBI that Connell, back in Louisiana after the riot, indicated that he intended to return to the nation’s capital in the week of Biden’s swearing in and said he would not come back to his home state unless he was in a body bag.
Adams, identified only as living in East Texas, was arrested Saturday near Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle. Both he and his cousin have been charged with assaulting a federal officer; obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties incident to civil disorder; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. As of press time, neither man nor their lawyers could be reached for comment. Information about Adams’s employment status was not immediately available.
Political activist, Fort Worth
The night before the Capitol riot, Alexander, a far-right social media personality and convicted felon, led a crowd of Trump supporters outside the White House in a “victory or death” chant. The activist, who lived in Fort Worth as recently as November, had become something of a celebrity during the Trump era, working with prominent conspiracy theorists, including Alex Jones of Austin. Alexander’s role last fall in helping to found the Stop the Steal campaign and contesting Joe Biden’s electoral win had raised his profile: in November, Arizona representative Paul Gosar tweeted that Alexander was a “true patriot.”
On January 6, Alexander, who is in his mid-thirties, posted a video on Twitter from the roof of a building across from the U.S. Capitol, as Trump supporters gathered below. “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this,” he said. In the days following the riot, he said he wished rioters hadn’t broken into the Capitol or approached the steps.
Alexander claims to have planned the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 with the help of Republican representatives Andy Biggs (Arizona), Mo Brooks (Alabama), and Gosar. A spokesperson for Brooks told Texas Monthly that the congressman did not participate in the planning in “any way, shape, or form.” Spokespeople for Biggs and Gosar did not respond to interview requests before press time. In a statement provided to the Washington Post, Biggs’ office said that the representative was “not aware” of even having met Alexander and denied involvement in planning the rally. A representative for Gosar told Business Insider last week that the congressman had no comment on the matter.
After the riots, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter banned Alexander from their platforms. He has not been charged by the Department of Justice for his role at the Capitol, and the FBI told Texas Monthly it could not comment on whether he was being investigated. In a video circulating on social media the week after the riots, Alexander said he went into hiding and was requesting money from his supporters. (PayPal and Venmo have also banned him.) As of press time, he could not be reached for comment.
Larry Rendell Brock Jr.
Retired Air Force officer, Grapevine
Unlike some of his more flamboyant compatriots, Brock arrived at the Capitol in military-grade gear. Wearing an olive-green combat helmet and body armor covered in Air Force and Texas flag patches, and eventually clutching a bundle of zip-tie handcuffs, the 53-year-old rushed the U.S. Capitol building and, according to the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, was among a group that entered Nancy Pelosi’s office. As Farrow reported, Brock was no amateur posing as a soldier. The Texas native graduated from the Air Force Academy and served in Afghanistan before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Brock’s ex-wife contacted the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center after identifying her former partner in an image that went viral, and he surrendered to the FBI at the Grapevine police station Sunday, the Dallas Morning News reported. He has been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful entry and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Relatives told the New Yorker that Brock had begun espousing extreme political views—often racist ones—in recent years, though the veteran has denied being a white supremacist. Brock told the magazine that he traveled to Washington, D.C., because President Trump asked his supporters to show up. As for the zip-tie handcuffs, Brock claimed he didn’t bring them but happened to find them on the ground during the riot. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one.”
Brock, who worked at Hillwood Airways, a charter service in Fort Worth, could not be reached for an interview as of press time. James Fuller, the executive vice president of the company, said via email that Brock is no longer employed there.
Floral shop owner, Midland
Until she was arrested by the FBI Monday on misdemeanor charges of entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct, florist and former Midland mayoral candidate Cudd continued to brag about storming the Capitol building. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she told NewsWest 9 two days after the riot.
Cudd, who is in her mid-thirties and had been active in Midland’s anti-mask protests this spring, had posted a livestream video of rioters storming inside the Capitol building. “We did break down Nancy Pelosi’s office door, and somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera,” she says while laughing, in one clip that has gone viral. (Cudd told NewsWest 9 that she didn’t personally enter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and that she was talking about the “patriots” when she used “we.”) In another video, uploaded while at the Capitol, Cudd said that she was “proud” of her actions that day.
“She’s never been in trouble before,” Cudd’s lawyer Don Flanary told Texas Monthly after her arrest. “She went to D.C. after she was summoned by the president to come to the speech, and she had no idea these things were going to happen.”
Walking through the U.S. Capitol rotunda, a camera around his neck, Eliel Rosa could’ve been mistaken for an eager tourist on any other day. But the Midland resident, who was granted political asylum after moving from Brazil to the United States more than four years ago, had broken into the Capitol alongside his friend, Jenny Cudd. A photo he posted from inside the building led FBI agents to identify him and issue a lengthy arrest warrant on charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, as well as disorderly conduct or violent entry. During an interview with the FBI two days after the siege, Rosa admitted he had entered the Capitol. Both charges he faces are misdemeanors, and together they carry penalties of as long as a year and a half in jail and a $100,000 fine.
Last year, the news website SanAngelolive.com described Rosa as a father and husband with “aspirations to earn his PhD in Public Policy and Constitutional Law,” and reported that he’d been tapped to serve as an immigration adviser to Jamie Berryhill, a Republican who would lose a GOP primary to represent a West Texas congressional district. On Wednesday, Rosa told a U.S. District Court judge that he’s been unemployed since coming to America, according to the Odessa American. Rosa could not be reached for comment, as of press time.
Texas attorney fired after posting videos from inside Capitol chaos https://t.co/VlICO0cFCM
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) January 9, 2021
Standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Davis recorded himself after law enforcement officers used tear gas to disperse the rioters. It is unclear whether he had entered the Capitol building. As of press time, the FBI is not able to confirm whether it is investigating him.
“I just got teargassed. That was not fun,” Davis said while blinking his eyes. In subsequent videos posted to his Instagram account, Davis said he was in Washington to demand an audit of the election but would accept the results of one that determined Biden had won. (The results had already been audited and upheld by scores of judges in the states whose counts were at issue.)
“If this was a legitimate election, then let us inspect it,” he said. “We’re all trying to get into the Capitol to stop this, and this is what’s happening. They’re tear gassing us. This is not acceptable.”
Davis could not be reached for an interview as of press time and has deleted his social media accounts. Before doing so, he continued to defend his actions. “I already lost my job because of the Twitter mob,” he posted, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I’m not upset. I’m thankful to be suffering for righteousness and freedom.”
Tyler Ethridge, widely regarded as the greatest six-man football player ever, was inside the U.S. Capitol building during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
*This story is for subscribers only https://t.co/Po96dmRIvP
— Standard-Times (@gosanangelo) January 20, 2021
In a video posted to Parler, a man who identifies himself as a pastor speaks from inside the Capitol as rioters in the background chant “Stop the steal.” “Just to let you know, I’m not involved in this,” the man says. “I’m just observing. … I don’t want to say that what we’re doing is right. But if the election is being stolen, what is it going to take?”
After the video was shared on Twitter, the hashtag #PastorParler went viral and one sleuth identified the man as Tyler Ethridge. A youth pastor in Florida who is regarded as the “greatest six-man football player” ever in Texas, Ethridge played on Richland Springs High School’s football team in the 2000s and set multiple state records, including for touchdown passes. After graduating from college out of state, he came back to Texas, settling in Leakey to be close to his father, who was coaching high school football.
In the aftermath of the Capitol riot, Ethridge defended his actions on his YouTube channel. In one video he said he had a “radical love for this nation,” adding that he believed that the “prophets” said that Trump should be president for two terms. Meanwhile on Twitter, where his account is now set to private, he wrote that he was “willing to go to jail” for what he believed in and had turned himself into federal authorities. “I don’t have a lawyer. I unlawfully entered the Capitol (even though I was let in). That’s against the law so I turned myself in,” he tweeted. As of press time, the Department of Justice had not filed charges against Ethridge. He did not respond to a request for an interview by time of publication.
“I’m probably going to lose my job as a pastor after this,” Ethridge said in the video from inside the Capitol. Indeed, the church he worked at in Tampa announced on January 19 that Ethridge was no longer part of its staff.
NEW: A lieutenant from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office in San Antonio is under FBI investigation after posting photos from the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) January 7, 2021
Sheriff’s deputy, San Antonio
Bexar County sheriff’s Lieutenant Mathai was on administrative leave when she donned a red, white, and blue face mask and posed for selfies amid the rioters near the Capitol. “Not gonna lie … aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life. And it’s not over yet,” the 46-year-old posted on Facebook that afternoon. Not long after, she posted again, saying that she was part of the crowd near the Capitol stairs but that she wasn’t inside. “Not catching a case,” she wrote, seeming to suggest that she didn’t want to face any legal repercussions for her involvement at the rally. But by 6:30 a.m. the next day, her photos and videos had made their way to the social media inbox of Bexar sheriff Javier Salazar, who immediately sent the posts to the FBI’s San Antonio division and launched an internal investigation. The FBI has not charged Mathai.
“I do not condone any violence from any side,” Mathai posted on Facebook after the riot. “I do NOT condone going into the Capitol at all.” Mathai’s lawyer, Hector Cortes, maintains that his client didn’t break any laws at the Capitol. He says the closest Mathai got to the building was the lawn, that while there she was unaware of the attacks against law enforcement, and that she didn’t break the emergency curfew that Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the day of the riots.
The sheriff’s department already had a separate internal investigation underway into whether the lieutenant had an “inappropriate relationship” with an inmate in custody at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, resulting in Mathai’s leave. (Mathai was the inmate’s legal guardian for several years while he was in high school, and he repeatedly tried to contact her while he was in custody, spurring the investigation, Cortes said. The sheriff’s department confirmed the allegation against Mathai is not sexual in nature and that she hadn’t been working since October 2020.) Salazar has indicated that he does not want her to return to the department. “She hasn’t stepped foot in this building since October 22 of last year, and quite frankly, [while] it may be too early to call for sure, my intent right now is that she never steps foot in this building again,” the sheriff said in a press conference the day after the riot.
Matthew Carl Mazzocco
Loan officer, San Antonio
In the caption of a selfie taken outside the U.S. Capitol, Mazzocco delivered a bold message to his Facebook followers: “The Capitol is ours!” The image, as well as a cellphone video circulating on social media that allegedly shows him inside the Capitol building during the January 6 riot, may have helped the FBI identify the 37-year-old ahead of his arrest on Sunday, January 17. The San Antonio man, who appears to have deleted his social media accounts, was taken into custody at his home and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to CBS affiliate KENS5. Reached by email, an FBI spokesperson said the agency has not yet released charging information about Mazzocco.
The loan officer, who could not be reached for comment as of press time, was scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday. A spokesperson for Synergy One Lending, where Mazzocco had worked, confirmed by email that he is no longer employed there, but declined to confirm whether he was fired because of his role in the riot. “Part of our core vision for our company is to build and maintain a pristine reputation,” the spokesperson wrote.
Police officer, Houston
During his eighteen-year career as a Houston police officer, Tam Pham had a spotless disciplinary record. In the end, a single transgression was enough to bring the officer’s time on the force to an abrupt end, officials said. On Thursday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo announced on Twitter that Pham had resigned after a tipster identified the officer among a crowd of rioters inside the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. “There is no excuse for criminal activity, especially from a police officer,” Acevedo told reporters at a press conference January 14. “I can’t tell you the anger I feel at the thought of a police officer and other police officers thinking they get to storm the Capitol.”
Federal authorities haven’t charged Pham for his role in the riot, but Acevedo said he expects charges to be filed, the Houston Chronicle reported. In the meantime, Pham is cooperating with an FBI investigation into his actions, his lawyer, Nicole DeBorde, told ABC affiliate KTRK-TV. DeBorde said her client was lured to D.C. by curiosity, not a desire to cause destruction. “He’s not an individual who desires to be seen at a violent protest, or an avid Trump supporter willing to stop at nothing to create a change in the election,” the defense attorney added. “That’s not his goal at all.” DeBorde didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Pham hasn’t made any lengthy public statement’s explaining his actions. He told the Chronicle he was present at the riot to take photos, but hasn’t confirmed or denied allegations that he entered the Capitol building. “I shouldn’t have done it,” he told the paper without offering more specifics.
Oil worker, Wylie
When Reffitt returned to his home in Wylie after allegedly participating in the riot in the U.S. Capitol building, he boasted about what he’d accomplished on his trip, according to an FBI affidavit. The 48-year-old, whose wife says is a member of the anti-government extremist group the Three Percenters, had been filmed on Capitol grounds, though he denies entering the building.
Family members said Reffitt’s tone changed when he became convinced that he was being watched by the law enforcement agency. After telling his son he planned to erase footage from the GoPro Camera he was wearing at the time of the riot, Reffitt delivered a threat, according to the affidavit: If reported to police, he said he’d have no option but to “do what he had to do.” Reportedly fearful that his daughter might be recording him and placing footage from her phone on social media, Reffitt also allegedly told her that he was going to “put a bullet through” her phone. Reffitt’s spouse told the FBI that her husband grew even more explicit. “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors … traitors get shot,” he allegedly said. Though none of his family members believed he would act on the threats, they told the FBI they were “disturbed” by the “extreme” statements.
Because of his alleged presence at the Capitol, the FBI executed a search warrant at Reffitt’s home on Saturday. He has been charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful entry. As of press time, he could not be reached for comment, and it was not clear whether he has a lawyer. The Washington Post has identified Reffitt as an oil worker but hasn’t named his employer.
Real estate broker, Frisco
After flying from Denton to Washington, D.C., on a private jet with a few friends Tuesday, Ryan had “one of the best days” of her life live streaming the mob on Facebook and Twitter. The 45-year-old flashed a peace sign while posing next to a broken Capitol window, but says she didn’t enter the building. “Window at The capital,” she tweeted. “And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next.”
In the days following January 6, Ryan’s pictures and videos went viral with many sharing her posts with the FBI. On January 15, Ryan was arrested after turning herself in. She was charged with knowingly entering or remaining “in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” and “disrupting the orderly conduct of Government,” according to court docs.
Two days after the riot, she released a statement on Facebook saying that she didn’t condone violence. “Unfortunately, what I believed to be a peaceful political march turned into a violent protest,” she said, despite being recorded on her livestream saying that she and other rioters would be “breaking those windows” and “deal[ing] with the tear bombs.”
Ryan wrote Texas Monthly that she has received “thousands and thousands of death threats” in the past week and has closed her real estate business, taken down her website, and changed her phone number, adding that her publisher has canceled her deal for a self-help book that was set to publish in February. “Still I am a survivor and I will rise above this Stronger than ever in all of my businesses. I’m taking considerable losses, however, I will rise again. God bless the USA.”