3 active-duty Marines charged in Capitol riot on January 6

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A Marine who said he was waiting for “Civil War 2” and two other active-duty military personnel have been charged with participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, officials said in newly filed court documents.

Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen were arrested this week on misdemeanor charges after their fellow Marines helped investigators identify them in footage among the pro-Trump crowd on Jan. court.

Dozens of people accused in the riot have military backgrounds, but these three are among only a handful on active duty. A Marine Corps officer seen on camera brawling with police and helping other mob members enter the Capitol was charged in 2021.

No defense lawyers for the men were listed on the court’s docket, so it was not immediately clear whether they have lawyers to comment on their behalf.

Their service records show that they are all active duty Marines. Major Kevin Stephensen, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said he is aware of the allegations and “is cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.”

Coomer, of Indiana, is stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California; Abate, from Virginia, is at Fort Meade, Maryland; and Michigan’s Hellonen is stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marines.

The men spent about 52 minutes inside the Capitol, officials say. At one point, while in the rotunda, they placed a red “Make American Great Again” hat on a statue to have pictures taken with it, according to court documents. Hellonen carried a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, officials said.

Coomer posted photos on Instagram that appeared to have been taken inside the Capitol with the caption “Glad to be a part of history,” according to court documents. Days after the 2020 election, he and someone else discussed via Instagram message how he believed the election was rigged.

And at the end of January 2021, he told someone else in a message that “everything in this country is corrupt”.

“Honestly, we need a new restart. I’m waiting for the boogaloo,” Coomer wrote in a detailed message in the court documents. When asked by the person what “a boogaloo” is, Coomer replied “Civil War 2,” officials said.

The boogaloo is an extremist anti-government, pro-gun movement. Its name is a slang reference for a sequel — in this case, a second US Civil War. The move was named after “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”, a 1984 sequel to a film about breakdancing.

Supporters attended protests against COVID-19 lockdown orders and protests against racial injustice, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts. The shirts are a reference to “big luau”, a reference to the term “boogaloo” sometimes used by members of the group.

During an interview related to his security clearance in June, Abate acknowledged walking around the Capitol with two “friends,” investigators said. Abate said they “walked and tried not to get hit by tear gas”.

The Pentagon said Abate was assigned to the Marine Cryptological Support Battalion, which supports the National Security Agency. One of the largest US intelligence agencies, the NSA spies on electronic communications around the world and plays a critical role in deterring cyber attacks and foreign influence operations.

An NSA spokesman declined to answer questions about when the agency learned of Slaughter’s statement that he had entered the Capitol or whether it took steps before his arrest to restrict his access to classified information.

The trio face charges including illegal entry and disorderly conduct.

Among the January 6 defendants with a military background are members of the right-wing extremist group Oath Keepers, accused of plotting to violently keep President Donald Trump in power. The group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper, was convicted of seditious conspiracy in November.

A Virginia Navy reservist accused of storming the Capitol was convicted this week on charges of illegally possessing silencers disguised to look like innocuous cleaning supplies.. Hatchet Speed ​​is scheduled to go to trial in its Jan. 6 case later this year.

And a former US Army reservist described by prosecutors as a Nazi sympathizer has been convicted of storming the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who worked as a security guard at a Navy base, was sentenced to four years in prison in September.

Nearly 1,000 people have been charged so far in the riot, and the count rises every week.. Nearly 500 people have pleaded guilty to riot-related charges and more than three dozen have been convicted at trial.

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Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press reporters Tara Copp, Michael Kunzelman and Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report from Washington.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the Capitol riot at: https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege

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