A retired New York City firefighter once accused of hurling racist abuse has been detained after allegedly sending a Jan. 6 photo of himself inside the Capitol Rotunda to his girlfriend's brother, who happens to be a State Department agent. In the midst of the riot, an unnamed Diplomatic Security Service agent learned his sister's boyfriend was in Washington, DC, per the Washington Post and New York Post. So he texted the man directly. Thomas Fee, a 53-year-old Long Islander who retired in October after 22 years with the FDNY, responded with a selfie showing him inside the Capitol Rotunda with a crowd of people behind him, adding he was "at the tip of the spear," according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday. Court documents also claim Fee sent along a video in which rioters can be heard shouting "tyranny" and the last name of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The agent initially deleted the messages before recovering them and turning them over to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Authorities then matched Fee's driver's license photo to images of a man at the riot, reports Newsweek. Federal agents also found that Fee's car had left New York on Jan. 5 and returned on Jan. 7. Lee was charged with violent entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds without lawful authority before surrendering to police in Queens on Tuesday, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District. He was ordered to surrender three firearms, then released on $100,000 bond, per Newsweek. The NY Post suggests a relationship was ended as a result of the affair, noting the agent's sister "was formerly Fee's girlfriend." (Read more Capitol attack stories.)