© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Latest On The Investigation Into The Insurrection At The Capitol


Law enforcement agencies across the country are trying to track down those who attacked the Capitol. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, of course, has been following this. Ryan, thanks for being with us.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: What is the latest on what must be an extensive investigation?

LUCAS: It is a big investigation, yes. The U.S. attorney's office here in D.C. is working with the FBI, the Capitol Police, ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service and the D.C. Metro Police on it. Officials say there are hundreds of prosecutors and agents working from three command centers. They're working 24 hours a day, officials say, on what they describe as a very active, very fluid and very much evolving investigation.

Now, federal officials say no resources are going to be spared in finding and holding rioters accountable. And people have been charged - more than 50, in fact, at this point. The majority of those are in Superior Court here in D.C. for more minor offenses, but more than a dozen individuals so far are facing federal charges.

SIMON: Do we know who they are?

LUCAS: We do from the charging documents, yes. One of them is Richard Barnett. You may have seen pictures of a man leaning back in a chair in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office with his feet up on the desk. Well, that was Barnett. He was arrested in Little Rock, Ark., on Friday morning. He faces unlawful entry, disorderly conduct and theft of public property charges.

Another one is Lonnie Coffman of Alabama. Authorities say that they found 11 Molotov cocktails in his pickup truck that was parked on Capitol Hill, as well as guns. He's in custody. He faces firearms charges.

And then another one that stood out is Derrick Evans. And he's notable because he's a newly elected West Virginia state lawmaker. And prosecutors say that he is facing a charge of entering a restricted area.

SIMON: And I guess it's worth noting, Ryan, that from these three cases alone, we see that people, in fact, came in from all over the country.

LUCAS: They really did. There were a couple of more, just in the cases charged so far, from Florida and Illinois. So they really did come in from all over the country. Some people who took part, of course, have already gone back home. But the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Steven D'Antuono, said that doesn't mean that they're going to get off scot-free. He said, even if you have left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on the door if the FBI finds out that you took part in the violence at the Capitol.

SIMON: Of course, one aspect of this investigation involves the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer. What are the details on that?

LUCAS: Well, Sicknick was injured while protecting the Capitol during the rampage. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died on Thursday night. Prosecutors and the FBI have refused to provide any details or clarity on Sicknick's injuries or the circumstances that led to his death. All they are saying publicly at this point is that the FBI is investigating, along with the D.C. Metro Police.

SIMON: Where does the investigation into Wednesday's insurrection go from here?

LUCAS: Well, the FBI and its partners are combing through social media photos and videos, of which there truly is an astounding amount, to identify the rioters. The FBI has set up a tip line and a portal on its website for the public to submit tips. The FBI says it has received a ton of tips from the public, and they say they're going through every single one of them.

Now, one question that looms over all of this is whether there was an organized effort by right-wing or self-styled militia groups in the rampage at the Capitol. There has been public reporting suggesting as much. Officials say they are aware of those reports. They say they're looking at every angle here, but they had nothing to confirm on that front at this point. But that, of course, is something that we will be keeping an eye on in the days and weeks to come as this investigation proceeds.

SIMON: NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, thanks so much.

LUCAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.