The FBI is seeking an “unprecedented” number of suspects following the Trump riots, and now encourages rioters to turn themselves in before agents knock on their doors
It has now been a week since pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, forcing evacuations, destroying property, stealing items from lawmakers’ offices, and causing the deaths of at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Federal officials have been slowly but steadily identifying the rioters from photos and videos (many of which were gleefully posted by the rioters themselves) and making arrests. But in a message to the public on Tuesday, federal agents announced that hundreds more arrests are coming.
Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, held a press conference where he described the Capitol building as a “crime scene,” and said his agents were working with the FBI to find hundreds, if not thousands, more people who will be arrested.
While the FBI has opened more than 160 case files in the six days since pro-Donald Trump rioters breached the US Capitol building, officials have acknowledged that the evidence gathered so far "is just the tip of the iceberg." https://t.co/C1kDSQ7pAr
— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2021
“The scope and scale of this are unprecedented, not only in FBI history but probably DOJ history,” Sherwin said during the event. He added that more than 170 case files have already been submitted for crimes committed during the riots, and that that number is going to “geometrically increase.”
According to Sherwin, rioters are being charged with a wide range of crimes, including “simple trespass, to theft of mail, to theft of digital devices inside the Capitol, to assault on local officer, federal officers both outside and inside the Capitol, to the theft of potential national security information, to felony murder.”
“The range of criminal conduct is really … unmatched in any type of scenario that we’ve seen at the FBI or DOJ,” he said. “Just the gamut of cases and criminal conduct we’re looking at is really mind-blowing.”
Since it’s been a week since the rioters stormed the building, many of them have left D.C. and scattered back to their homes across the country. But that doesn’t make them safe from prosecution, Sherwin warned. He’s asking anyone who participated in the riots to turn themselves in, because it’s only a matter of time before federal agents find them.
“Even if you left D.C., agents for our local field offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” he said.
The FBI is also asking the public to help. If you have any information about pro-Trump rioters, you can submit it online via a special form for tips about crimes at the Capitol.