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A retired Pennsylvania firefighter allegedly caught on camera tossing a fire extinguisher at Capitol police officers during last week’s riot was arrested Thursday, authorities said.
Robert Sanford, of Chester, Pennsylvania, was taken into custody on four charges including assault of a police officer after investigators say they identified him as the man seen throwing a fire extinguisher on the west side of the US Capitol as pro-Trump rioters stormed past police.
The throng of violent demonstrators were “insurrectionists,” an FBI special agent wrote in a statement of facts obtained by The Post.
Video released Monday showed one rioter heaving a fire extinguisher at a group of officers, hitting at least on the helmet.
The fire extinguisher had actually struck three officers in the head, including one who was not wearing a helmet, authorities said.
One of the helmeted officers hit by the extinguisher, William Young, was later evaluated at a hospital before being “cleared to return to duty,” charging documents show.
A friend of Sanford’s contacted the FBI Tuesday to identify the 55-year-old man as the person being sought for throwing the fire extinguisher. The alleged attack is not connected to the death of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died at a hospital one day after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the melee, two law enforcement sources told the Associated Press.
Sanford’s friend said he had recently retired from the Chester Fire Department and went to Washington via bus with a group of other people.
“The group had gone to the White House and listened to President Donald J. Trump’s speech and then had followed the President’s instructions and gone to the Capitol,” charging documents show. “The complainant indicated that Sanford had claimed to have been on the Capitol grounds for about 10 minutes before ‘they’ left.”
Sanford also admitted to his friend that he was the man in the “CFD” hat being sought by FBI investigators, court documents show.
Sanford is due to appear in federal court in Philadelphia Thursday afternoon and it’s unclear whether he’s hired an attorney. He could not be immediately reached for comment, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Sanford was also charged with civil disorder, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and unlawfully entering the Capitol. If convicted of using a deadly weapon in a restricted area, Sanford faces up to 10 years in prison, court documents show.
With Post wires
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