Robert Sanford retired firefighter hailing from Chester Pa identified as individual who threw fire extinguisher at cops, injuring one during Capitol riots. Items referencing far right group, Proud Boys found at home.
Robert Sanford, 55, of Chester, Pa., appeared in a virtual hearing in federal court in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Thursday to face felony charges of unlawful entry, civil disorder and assaulting, assaulting a police officer.
Sanford was captured on video hurling a fire extinguisher at police during the mob attack at the Capitol, according to court documents cited by the WSJ.
Prosecutors said a search warrant executed at Sanford’s home this week uncovered paraphernalia referencing the far-right ‘Proud Boys’ group. Sanford’s lawyer told the judge his client is not a member of any extremist group and has no criminal history.
The judge ordered Sanford to be detained pending trial, saying he posed a ‘danger to the community’ as well as to ‘democracy and our legislators’.
BREAKING—They’ve arrested the man who threw the fire extinguisher at the police on Capitol siege day. Who is he? Retired firefighter Robert Sanford of Chester, PA—he faces three federal felony charges including assaulting a police officer. Oy. pic.twitter.com/2QQv6Hod9g
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 14, 2021
NEW: Retired Chester, Pa firefighter identified at Robert Sanford now faces federal charges after reportedly throwing a fire extinguisher at police during U.S. Capitol siege.
— George Solis (@GeorgeSolis) January 14, 2021
Identified by a long time friend
Video shot on the day of the riots identified Sanford as the individual who threw a fire extinguisher at assembled police officers, hitting and bouncing off the heads of three officers, two of whom wore helmets.
One of the officers who was hit, William Young, was evaluated at a hospital and cleared to return to duty.
Sanford, 55, traveled by bus with other people to the Capitol, according to documents. He told a friend when he returned home that he had been on the grounds for 10 minutes before leaving but did not mention throwing anything at officers, authorities said.
Sanford was identified after a longtime friend of his contacted the FBI in Pennsylvania and said they recognized Sanford from photos put out by the FBI.
Followed the President’s instructions
The friend said Sanford ‘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.’
Of note, Sanford is not the same person suspected of killing Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick after he was struck on the head with a fire extinguisher during the riots, officials said. The FBI has not yet released details about possible suspects in Sicknick’s death. They say the investigation into the officer’s death remains ongoing.
Sanford was a member of the Chester Fire Department from January 1994 until February 2020.