A self-described leader of the Proud Boys was charged for his role in the Capitol riots; authorities said Joseph Biggs encouraged other extremists.
Federal authorities believe that pipe bombs discovered at the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees during the Capitol riots were placed there on the night before the siege.
The FBI, in a new appeal for public assistance Friday, released images of a unidentified suspect — dressed in a gray hoodie, distinctive Nike shoes and carrying a backpack — who is believed to have delivered the live explosives to the locations between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Jan. 5.
In an attempt to inject new urgency in the search for the suspect, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives upped a reward for information in the case from $75,000 to $100,000. Prominently featured in the FBI appeal are images of the suspect’s footwear, described as Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes in yellow, black, and gray.
Assistant FBI Director Steven D’Antuono said this week that the components of the devices made them “viable” threats until they were discovered and disarmed by authorities and that getting the suspect is a “top priority.”
More than 400 suspects have been identified in the Capitol assault, authorities announced Tuesday, with 138 arrested so far.
“We are working on (sedition) cases,” said Michael Sherwin, the chief federal prosecutor overseeing the inquiry, and officials expect the investigations to “bear fruit very soon.”
The charges, which could carry a maximum punishment of 20 years, would be among the most serious for those in the armed attack to disrupt Congress’ counting of President Joe Biden’s state-certified electoral victory.
It is not clear whether the pipe bombs were unrelated to the riot or part of the riot planning. Both RNC and DNC headquarters are within a few blocks of the Capitol.
U.S. Capitol Police and agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to the Republican National Committee’s office around 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 6. About 30 minutes later, as the agents and bomb technicians were still investigating at the RNC, another call came in for a second, similar explosive device found at the Democratic National Committee headquarters nearby.
The two explosive devices were very similar, and both were about a foot long with end caps and wiring that appeared to be attached to a timer, two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter have told The Associated Press. Investigators are still examining the devices and their components to determine the specific compounds inside the pipe bombs, but they both appeared to contain an unknown powder and some metal, the officials said.
Federal law enforcement officials are examining threats aimed at members of Congress during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside the U.S. Capitol, an official told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The officials could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
If you have information, contact the FBI’s tip line 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or submit tips online at tips.fbi.gov.
Contributing: Associated Press
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