Jan. 6 suspect arrested near Obama’s Washington home had guns and machete in his van, feds say

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man arrested near former President Barack Obama’s Washington home on charges of rioting at the U.S. Capitol had two guns, 400 rounds of ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, said a federal prosecutor on Friday.

Taylor Taranto, 37, was arrested on Thursday after he was spotted a few blocks from the former president and chased by US Secret Service agents. Court documents unsealed on Friday show Taranto is charged with four misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, including disorderly and disruptive conduct in a building or restricted area.

The Justice Department, during a hearing in federal court in Washington, revealed details of the weapons found in the van the man appeared to be living in, NBC News reported. Taranto has been ordered to remain behind bars pending a detention hearing scheduled for next Wednesday.

An email seeking comment was sent to Taranto’s attorney on Friday.

It was unclear whether the Obamas were at home at the time of his arrest. The explosives team swept away Taranto’s van and said there was no threat to the public. No one was hurt.

Taranto was a U.S. Navy veteran and webmaster for the Republican Party in Franklin County, Washington, according to the Tri-City Herald newspaper. He told the newspaper in an interview last year that he volunteers for the Republican Party.

After attending President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, Taranto joined rioters on the Upper West Terrace, where he picked up and threw pieces of metal scaffolding, according to court documents.

Taranto entered the Capitol building and was near fellow rioter Ashli ​​Babbitt when a police officer fatally shot her as she climbed through a glass window leading to the rooms of the Chamber, the FBI said in a court filing. Before leaving the building, Taranto and other rioters fought with police officers, according to the filing.

On a Facebook account authorities say it appears to be run by Taranto and his wife, Taranto posted a video in which he claimed to be inside the Capitol with the caption, “It’s me ‘stormin’ the capitol’ lol I’m just sharing this so someone will report me to the feds and we can throw this party!”

Taranto appeared in court this month for the sentencing hearing of another man who was convicted in the riot, authorities said. He was also interviewed for a video uploaded this month in which he identified himself in footage during the riot, saying “That’s me screaming.”

More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. More than 600 of them have pleaded guilty, while around 100 others have been convicted after trials decided by judges or juries. More than 550 riot defendants have been sentenced, more than half of them to prison terms ranging from six days to 18 years.

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