Capitol Riot

Trump supporters participate in a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud. The president is expected to address a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

A Falkville man is one of 13 facing federal charges following Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Lonnie Coffman, 70, was taken into custody after firearms and 11 explosive devices described as "Molotov Cocktails" were found in his vehicle.

According to the affidavit filed in federal court Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officers swept the area around the Capitol after finding possible explosive devices, and saw what looked to be a firearm in the front seat of a red GMC Sierra pickup. A database check of the vehicle found that it was registered to Coffman. 

One black handgun was recovered from the right front passenger seat of the vehicle. After locating the black handgun, officers proceeded to search the rest of the pickup truck, including the bed of the  ruck, which was secured under a fabric top. During the search of the cab of the truck, officers recovered, among other things, one M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition.

In addition, officers recovered the following items in the bed of the pickup truck in close proximity to one another: 11 mason jars containing an unknown liquid with a golf tee in the top of each jar, cloth rags and lighters. 

Upon finding these materials, bomb technicians observed that the items appeared to be consistent with components for an explosive or incendiary device known as a “Molotov Cocktail.” Based on this discovery, additional personnel were called to the scene, including the United States Capitol Police Hazardous Materials Team. 

A preliminary test by the United States Capitol Police Hazardous Material Team determined that the liquid in the mason jars was an igniting substance and that it had a spectrograph profile consistent with gasoline.

An explosive enforcement officer and a certified explosive specialist, both with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, were consulted and each stated that, based on their training and experience, the 11 mason jars containing an unknown liquid with a golf tee in the top of each jar, cloth rags, and lighters found in close proximity to one another constitute a combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a “destructive device,” as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(f), and from which a “destructive device” may be readily assembled. Possession of the above-referenced components without registering any “destructive devices” with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record violates 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).

Coffman later approached law enforcement officers and said he was looking to return to his vehicle, and officers found two other firearms in his possession. 

According to records checks of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record database using Coffman’s name and date of birth, neither the firearms recovered from Coffman’s person or his pickup truck, nor the destructive devices described above, are registered to him. In addition, Coffman has not registered any firearms in accordance with D.C. law.

When officers asked Coffman about the contents of the jars, he said they contained “melted Styrofoam and gasoline.”

An explosive enforcement officer with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has advised that melted Styrofoam and gasoline are an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm insofar as it causes the flammable liquid to better stick to objects that it hits upon detonation.

Law enforcement later reviewed video surveillance footage from the area where the vehicle was discovered. The video footage indicates that the vehicle was parked there at around 9:15 a.m., and that around five minutes later one and only one individual departed the vehicle from the driver’s side door. The video footage reveals that the person who departed the vehicle was wearing a jacket with a patch consistent with clothing worn by Coffman when he was arrested.

Coffman is set to appear in a detention hearing on Jan. 12.

The 12 others charged in federal court include:

Cleveland Meredith was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with making interstate threats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public money, property, or records. Barnett allegedly entered a restricted are of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Mark Leffingwell, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; assault on a federal law enforcement officer; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Leffingwell allegedly entered the Senate side of the Capitol and when stopped by law enforcement, struck an officer in the helmet and chest. Leffingwell is currently being held and has a detention hearing in district court today.

Christopher Alberts, of Maryland, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with carrying or having readily accessible, on the grounds of the United States Capitol Building, a firearm and ammunition. Specifically a Taurus G2C, 9mm handgun and 9mm caliber ammunition. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.

Joshua Pruitt, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.

Matthew Council, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Council allegedly unlawfully entered the Capitol building, and when stopped by law enforcement, he pushed the officer.

Cindy Fitchett, of Virginia, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.  

Michael Curzio, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Douglas Sweet, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Bradley Ruskelas, of Illinois, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Terry Brown, of Pennsylvania, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

Thomas Gallagher was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

In addition, approximately 40 individuals have been arrested and charged in Superior Court with offenses including, but not limited to, unlawful entry, curfew violations, and firearms-related crimes. 

The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and are being investigated jointly by the FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; U.S. Capitol Police Department; and the Metropolitan Police Department.

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