First Active-Duty Officer Charged in Capitol Riot

Marine Maj. Christopher Warnagiris broke through police at east doors, Justice Department says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Marine Officer Charged With Breaching Capitol Doors
Capitol Police officers try to hold back rioters at the east doors to the House side of the US Capitol on Jan. 6.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

For the first time, a service member on active duty has been charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. Marine Maj. Christopher Warnagiris was arrested Thursday, the Justice Department said, accused of forcing his way into the building. The charges against Warnagiris, 40, include assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; obstruction of law enforcement; and obstruction of justice, USA Today reports. The Justice Department said he broke through police officers blocking the East Rotunda doors. Warnagiris can be seen on video holding the door to let other rioters inside, at one point shoving a Capitol Police officer who tried to close the door, the department said. His service record lists combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Warnagiris is a field artillery officer on the training staff at Marine Corps Base Quantico outside the capital.

Video from DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone's body camera shows him screaming and pleading with rioters while they assaulted him outside the Capitol during the attack. "I have kids," he told them at one point. CNN showed the previously unreleased footage Wednesday night. After one rioter can be heard saying, "I got one," another says: "Don't hurt him. We're better than this." Fanone was tased and knocked unconscious during the assault. When the officer regained consciousness, he asked, "Did we take the door back?" Fanone had a heart attack and suffered a concussion in the attack. He was left with a traumatic brain injury and has post-traumatic stress disorder. The video can be watched here. (More Capitol riot stories.)

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