Special Forces Capitol Rioter A “Danger To The Community,” To Remain Locked Up
One of the more disturbing aspects of the deadly insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 is how many current and former members of the U.S. military and law enforcement officers took part. Their weapons and hand-to-hand combat training made them especially dangerous to the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers who bravely attempted to prevent the Donald Trump-incited mob from breaking into the Capitol.
In all more than 300 people have been arrested thus far on assault, weapons, destruction of property and trespassing charges. At least five of those arrested were employed as law enforcement officers at the time of the riot. At least three of those arrested had previously worked as police officers. And at least 37 arrested to date are current or former military members. A CBS News review of military service records and court documents shows that of those, three are currently enlisted in the military — two in the Army Reserve and one in the National Guard.
Of the former military members, at least 18 have served in the U.S. Marines, 11 served in the Army, two served in the Navy and two served in the Air Force. One defendant who stands out in particular is Jeffrey McKellop, who was a communications sergeant with the Army Special Forces. In other words, McKellop was a Green Beret. A decorated veteran of multiple overseas tours of duty, he also in recent years worked as a U.S. government contractor.
At a hearing on Tuesday Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said that the evidence that McKellop targeted police for assault and came equipped for battle suggests he presents a threat if released before his trial and ordered him to remain locked up.
“Unfortunately, Mr. McKellop, I think that you are a danger to the community,” Faruqui said. It’s frightening, frankly, to see what happened that day. This is one of the most egregious cases in terms of violence toward police officers.” Prosecutors said in their filings, “The defendant received extensive military and combat training—including close-quarters combat training—dating back to the 1990’s. He has deployed overseas as recently as 2018 as a contractor working for the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of State.”
According to the Justice Department, McKellop was clad in body armor and a gas mask when he targeted high-ranking Capitol Police who were working to control the oncoming mob. McKellop, prosecutors say, attempted to grab a canister of pepper spray from one officer and speared another in the face with a flagpole, causing lacerations.
Bolstering their case that the former Green Beret should remain behind bars, prosecutors said, was that a search of McKellop’s residences turned up a flashbang in his kitchen and evidence of a “go bag” – complete with a firearm – that he could use to flee if he is not held pending trial.