A New Jersey man who made headlines for witnessing the fatal shooting of a pro-Trump supporter at last week's violent riots at the U.S. Capitol has been charged.
Thomas Baranyi of Ewing, New Jersey, has been charged with disorderly conduct and violent entry of a restricted building, the Rutherford Daily Voice, WPVI and NJ.com report. In a criminal affidavit, an FBI agent stated Baranyi was identified after recounting his experience as one the rioters who stormed the Capitol building in an interview with local station WKRG.
"We tore through the scaffolding, threw flash bangs and tear gas, and blitzed our way in through all the chambers," Baranyi told one reporter as he left the scene Wednesday.
"It was a joke to them until we got inside, and then guns came out. But we're at a point now, it can't be allowed to stand. We have to do something. People have to do something," he said.
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He also claimed he was standing beside fellow rioter Ashli Babbitt when she was fatally shot by Capitol police.
"We had stormed in the chambers inside and there was a young lady who rushed through the windows," he recalled. "A number of police and Secret Service were saying 'get back, get down and get out of the way.' She didn't heed the call and as we raced up to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck."
The gathering of Trump supporters began earlier Wednesday and eventually moved from the Mall to the Capitol building, forcing members of Congress to evacuate and hide, putting a temporary pause to the joint session.
The National Guard was called in, and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a curfew beginning at 6 p.m., and the Capitol was eventually cleared out and declared secure. Congress later reconvened to finish the certification of Biden as president.
People in the mob were photographed Wednesday afternoon scaling the Capitol's walls, breaking windows, roaming through the building, looting and vandalizing, including in congressional chambers and lawmaker offices. Rioters also ripped an American flag off of a flagpole outside the Capitol building and replaced it with a Trump flag.
Since the riots, the FBI has asked the public for help in identifying rioters. It is unclear whether Baranyi has an attorney to comment on his behalf. He has been released on a $100,000 bond. He is expected to appear in court on January 18th. A judge has restricted his travel to New Jersey and has ordered him to surrender his passport.
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