Capitol riot arrest: Marine officer charged for alleged involvement

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The Justice Department (DOJ) has charged an active duty U.S. Marine with crimes related to the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6. 

Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, 40, was arrested Thursday in Virginia and charged with federal offenses including assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, obstruction of law enforcement and obstruction of justice.

He made his first court appearance later that day. He said he has not hired an attorney, nor does he know if he can afford to hire one, he told the court. 

The Marine Corps confirmed that Warnagiris is an active-duty field officer, currently assigned to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program in Quantico, Virgnia, the Marine Corps Times reported. 

“The Marine Corps is clear on this: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” Headquarters Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jorge Hernandez said Thursday. “Our strength is derived from the individual excellence of every Marine regardless of background. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values.”

The FBI received a tip in March that helped them identify Warnagiris. 

A co-worker, who had worked with Warnagiris for about nine months, identified him in photographs provided by the FBI, the DOJ said.

Security footage allegedly showed Warnagiris “violently” entering the Capitol by pushing through a line of police officers in the East Rotunda. He then positioned himself to keep the door open and help others enter the building, according to the department.

Publicly available video footage allegedly showed Warnagiris pushing back against a Capitol Police officer who tried to close the door and stem the inflow of protesters. 

In the four months following the riot, authorities have arrested and charged more than 400 people in relation to the Capitol breach, with 125 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, the DOJ said. 

The FBI’s Washington Field Office is handling the ongoing investigation. 

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