Report: FBI Inexplicably Removed Armed Capitol Rioters from Most Wanted List
According to a report from the Washington Examiner, the FBI won’t explain why three individuals who participated in the January 6 Capitol riot disappeared from its Capitol Violence Most Wanted list.
One of the unidentified men, dubbed #GingerGun by online sleuths, wore an earpiece and carried what appeared to be a concealed handgun on his left hip. The Examiner claims he was pictured on the FBI’s list for more than five months before being removed without explanation on the same day the New York Times reported that an FBI informant was at the Capitol on the day of the incident.
Video footage showed another unidentified man, dubbed #HarleyJacketBatonMan, beating police officers with a baton. He was on the FBI’s list for assaulting a federal law enforcement officer before the agency inexplicably removed him in late February — just a few weeks after adding him.
Footage showed the third man, Ray Epps, urging supporters of then-President Donald Trump to breach the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
The FBI did not arrest or charge Epps, and they removed him from their list on July 1, 2021. The move “fueled speculation from a member of the House Judiciary Committee that Epps may have agitated people to storm the Capitol at the behest of the FBI.”
Footage from January 5 shows Epps, a former president of the Arizona Oath Keepers militia group, urging a crowd of Trump supporters to “go into the Capitol” the next day, spurring responses from the crowd alleging that he was a federal plant.
According to the Washington Examiner, as Trump spoke outside the White House the next day, Epps corralled people toward the Capitol. “He was also part of the first group of rioters to break through a police barrier on Capitol grounds.”
According to the report:
Only 13 suspects have been removed from the FBI's Capitol Violence Most Wanted list, launched two days after the riot to solicit help from the public in identifying rioters. Hundreds of individuals on the list have been identified, but they remain on the list with a notice they have been arrested. Online sleuths identified removed suspects 311 and 312 as photojournalists. Two removed suspects were minors. Removed suspect 236 identified herself as a 17-year-old girl to a reporter during the riot, and online sleuths identified removed suspect 310 as a minor. Removed suspect 257 was identified as Andrew Taake of Texas, who was arrested and charged by federal authorities in July. Removed suspects 36, 37, 197, and 198 remain on the list under different numbers. Removed suspect 171 was identified as Evan Neumann of California, who is currently listed on another FBI most wanted list. Neumann allegedly assaulted police officers with a metal barricade during the riot. He fled the country in February and is currently believed to be in Belarus, according to the FBI notice. Neumann was indicted on Dec. 10 on 14 counts.
During an October hearing, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) presented Attorney General Merrick Garland with video footage of Epps encouraging people to enter the Capitol on January 5 and 6. Massie said Garland “refused to comment on how many agents or assets of the federal government were present in the crowd on [January 5 and 6] and how many entered the Capitol.”