Man accused of throwing fire extinguisher at police during Capitol riot arrested in Pennsylvania
A retired Pennsylvania firefighter has been arrested and now faces charges in connection to throwing a fire extinguisher at police during last week’s deadly mob attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.
According to court documents filed Thursday, 55-year-old Robert Sanford of Chester, Pa., faces federal felony charges, including assaulting a police officer, after authorities identified Sanford in footage showing a man throwing a fire extinguisher toward police.
“The video was shot from an elevated position and showed an area of the Capitol with a large group of police officers surrounded on at least three sides by a group of insurrectionists,” the court filing states.
In the footage, according to the court documents, the fire extinguisher can be seen hitting one officer wearing a helmet before it ricochets and strikes an officer without a helmet. The object then ricochets again and strikes a third officer in the head. That officer was wearing a helmet.
The incident was separate from an ongoing investigation into the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who reportedly died after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher during the Jan. 6 riot.
Sanford, who recently retired from the Chester Fire Department according to court documents, was also charged with disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, civil disorder and unlawfully entering the Capitol building.
Authorities said the FBI earlier this week had asked the public to help identify a man in video footage wearing a hat with the letters, “CFD.” A friend who was aware that Sanford was on the Capitol grounds during the riot contacted police after seeing the FBI photos.
According to The Associated Press, Sanford is due in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, though authorities said the case will be prosecuted in Washington, D.C.
Court documents did not indicate whether Sanford has an attorney to represent him at this time.
The Justice Department has so far brought more than 70 criminal cases in connection with last week’s pro-Trump riot that occurred as a joint session of Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Five people died amid the chaos, including Sicknick and a woman shot by a plainclothes officer. Three others died of “medical emergencies” near the Capitol grounds.