Federal authorities Thursday continued their pursuit of organized factions within the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last month, charging five suspects with conspiracy and other offenses for their alleged roles in the deadly attack.
William Chrestman and Christopher Kuehne of Kansas; Luis Enrique Colon of Missouri; along with siblings Felicia Konold and Cory Konold of Arizona, were arrested Thursday after being identified from photographs and social media posts during and after the siege.
According to court documents, Chrestman, pictured wielding a club, and Felicia Konold were observed associating during the day with leaders of the Proud Boys, an extremist group with ties to white nationalism. Another photo appears to show Chrestman with Ethan Nordean, the self-described “sergeant-at-arms” for the Proud Boys Seattle chapter.
Nordean, accused earlier this month of obstructing Congress, aiding and abetting and entering restricted grounds, is among more than a half-dozen group members charged in the riots.
Federal investigators singled out Chrestman, however, as allegedly threatening police as the crowd advanced on the Capitol.
As police sought to control the rioters, investigators said Chrestman yelled: “You shoot and I’ll take your f****** ass out.”
At another point, Chrestman also allegedly urged other rioters to stop police from making an arrest.
“Don’t let them take him,” Chrestman called out.
The new charges were disclosed as a Pennsylvania woman, who used a bullhorn to direct other rioters, was ordered released from custody Thursday pending trial.
In addition to offering direction, Rachel Marie Powell is alleged to have used a long pipe, along with other rioters, to break a window and was instructing fellow insurrectionists to break out a second window.
“It’s hard to tell in a mob which one was leading the other in an effort to disrupt the constitutional process,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said. “I do look at equitable treatment of these defendants in trying to figure out levels of dangerousness. One could say that every person on those steps was a danger to democracy.”
A chief condition of Powell’s release largely restricts her to the area of her home in Pennsylvania except when her presence is required for future court appearances in Washington, D.C.
Federal investigators said the five suspects accused of conspiracy “did advance together, as they unlawfully entered the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the Capitol, itself.”
“The subjects did then proceed to act in concert to prevent law enforcement officers from controlling the crowd by obstructing metal barriers,” the court documents stated, adding that they repeatedly appeared at the front of the crowd that toppled barricades on the march toward the Capitol.
Investigators noted that each of the suspects appeared to have orange tape affixed to their hats, helmets and other articles of clothing, another indication that they were traveling together.
The markings, according to court documents, appeared “intended to identify persons for a particular purpose.”
Following siege, investigators claimed that Felicia Konold boasted of her participation in the assault in social media posts.
“I never could have imagined having that much of an influence on the events that unfolded today,” according to a Snapchat posting in Konold’s name. Another post appeared to proudly acknowledge that she had been recruited by the Proud Boys, declaring that she was “with them now.”
The charges were made public as the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump entered its third day in the Senate. Trump is accused of inciting the insurrection during a fiery speech to the crowd prior to the assault.