Eric Munchel Nashville Tennessee bartender identified as Capitol rioter seen clutching zip ties inside Senate. Traveled to Washington D.C with mother. Arrested by FBI.
Eric Gavelek Munchel, 30, has been named as the man pictured in the Senate press gallery clutching a bundle of flex-cuffs, heavy duty restraints used by law enforcement in mass arrests on Wednesday.
Come Sunday, the FBI announced Eric Munchel being arrested and taken into custody in Nashville on federal charges. One of the officials said the authorities had recovered several weapons. No further details were available. Charges were expected to be announced soon the nytimes reported.
Offered Munchel via The Times of London days earlier prior to his arrest: ‘We wanted to show that we’re willing to rise up, band together and fight if necessary. Same as our forefathers, who established this country in 1776. It was a kind of flexing of muscles.’
Told the insurgent’s mother, Lisa Eisenhart, 57: ‘The left has everything: the media, organizations, the government. We have to organize if we’re going to fight back and be heard.’
‘I’d rather die than live under oppression’
The nurse, who wore a bullet proof vest like her son, added: ‘This country was founded on revolution. If they’re going to take every legitimate means from us, and we can’t even express ourselves on the internet, we won’t even be able to speak freely, what is America for?
‘I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight.’
The pair are said to have driven from Nashville, Tennessee for Wednesday’s protest.
Footage from the lobby of a DC hotel shows Munchel speaking about the rally with an unidentified woman. That same woman is seen earlier in the day with the rioter wearing full paramilitary gear.
A Facebook account said to belong to Munchel has since been deleted but it listed him as working at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille in Florida.
Told the bar in a statement: ‘It’s been brought to our attention that a former employee of ours from 2+ years ago was involved in the recent events at the Capitol Building. We have no affiliation with this employee and their actions were their own.’
In a detailed breakdown of his clothing The Sparrow Project say his ‘expensive camouflage and tactical larp-flare’ helped identify Munchel.
Plan to hurt lawmakers?
They list specific items of clothing the rioter, and later Munchel, was seen in as well as noting his Tennessee ‘blue line’ patch.
The FBI is said to be investigating whether any of Trump‘s supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol were conspiring to hurt lawmakers or take them hostage.
‘We’re not looking at this as a grand conspiracy, but we are interested in learning what people would do with things like zip ties,’ a law enforcement official told The Washington Post.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock Jr, 53, has already admitted he invaded the Senate floor and roamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office dressed in combat gear and carrying zip-tie cuffs.
But he told the New Yorker he thought he was welcome to enter the US Capitol along with claiming he ‘found’ the zip ties on the floor and merely picked them up so he could hand them in to a police officer.
News of Munchel and his mother’s involvement follows a Trump supporter allegedly telling his friends that he wanted to shoot and run over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr has since been arrested on federal charges stemming from the riot at the Capitol last week as authorities also arrested an Alabama man, Lonnie Coffman possessing 11 Molotov cocktails near the building.
13 insurgents charged
Meredith, Coffman are two of 13 people who have been charged with federal crimes. Others include Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, who was photographed sitting at a desk in Pelosi’s office, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
A Florida man identified as the person seen in a photo shared widely on social media carrying the speaker of the House’s lectern was also arrested Friday.
Adam Johnson faces charges including theft of government property.
Prosecutors say these charges are just the beginning. Authorities said Friday that additional cases remained under seal and dozens of other people were being sought by federal agents.
US attorneys in several states, including Kentucky, Ohio and Oregon, said people could face charges in their home states if they traveled to Washington and took part in the riot.
Investigators will also consider whether there was any concerted plot targeting Vice President Mike Pence, who enraged Trump and his loyalists by refusing to illegally intervene in Congress to overthrow the election.