The Department of Justice unsealed two new felony weapons charges against Taylor Taranto, a suspect in the January 6, 2021 insurrection who was arrested near the home of former President Obama.
Taranto was arrested on June 29th when Secret Service agents spotted him several blocks from Obama’s Washington DC residence. He had already been wanted on an arrest warrant on four misdemeanor charges related the he deadly January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The unsealed grand jury indictment reveals that Taranto has been charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, as well as those four misdemeanors relating to his alleged conduct on January 6.
The DOJ said in a news release Friday that on January 6 Taranto had been “captured on video standing at the entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby—an area behind the House chamber where Congresspeople were evacuating from the House chamber to a safe location. Around this time, a rioter [Ashli Babbitt] attempted to jump through a glass window and was shot by a United States Capitol Police officer.”
The DOJ goes on to say that as DC Metropolitan Police officers attempted to remove rioters from the area, a “mob of people, including Taranto [began] aggressively yelling, pushing, and refusing officers’ directives to leave,” and that Taranto “scuffled with police officers.”
According to court documents Taranto was forced to leave the Capitol building at around 2:56pm, but remained on the Capitol grounds for an additional period of time.
According to July 5 court memo by federal prosecutors, on June 29 ahead of his arrest, Taranto had begun streaming from his van, saying he was driving to Obama’s neighborhood. He eventually stopped, left the van and started walking, making “several concerning statements regarding the residences in the area, saying that he was looking for ‘entrance points,’ that he had ‘control’ of the block and ‘had them surrounded’ and that he was going to find a way to the ‘tunnels underneath their houses.'”
That July 5 memo includes photos of two firearms found in Taranto’s vehicle: a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield and a Ceska 9mm CZ Scorpion E3.
The FBI had obtained a warrant against Taranto when, on June 28, he live-streamed a threat to detonate an explosive at the government building that houses the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, in Maryland. There is a there is a nuclear reactor on that agency’s campus.
Along with Obama, Taranto has also made threats against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the latter of whom was on last year’s House Select January 6 Committee.