2 East Texans accused of taking part in U.S. Capitol siege charged with federal crimes
Ryan Nichols, 30, of Longview, and Alex Kirk Harkrider, 33, of Carthage, were both arrested on Monday
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Two East Texas men have been arrested and charged with federal crimes in connection with allegations that they took part in the siege of the U.S Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Ryan Nichols, 30, of Longview, and Alex Kirk Harkrider, 33, of Carthage, were both arrested on Monday. Nichols is being held in the Smith County Jail, and Harkrider is being held in the Gregg County Jail.
According to a Department of Justice criminal complaint that lists the suspects in the assault on the Capitol Building, Nichols’ federal charges include conspiracy and unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; civil disorder, assault on a federal officer, using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and aiding and abetting.
The criminal complaint states that Harkrider’s charges include conspiracy and unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and aiding and abetting.
The DOJ criminal complaint states that the people on the list were charged in federal court in the District of Columbia for crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.
“Every case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia,” the website states. “Following arrests, or surrender, defendants must appear before district court magistrate/judge where the arrest takes place, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.”
The detailed federal affidavit gave a timeline of what happened on Jan. 6. Permanent and temporary security barriers and posts were already in place, and the exterior plaza of the Capitol Building was closed to the public.
At 1 p.m., the U.S. Senate and House met in a joint session in the Capitol Building to certify the Electoral College vote count for the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election. Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate, was present.
Then at 1:30 p.m., the members of the Senate and the House convened in separate chambers to address objections.
The affidavit stated that as this was going, a large crowd started gathering at the U.S. Capitol Building. Members of the Capitol Police tried to maintain order, but shortly after 2 p.m., people in the crowd forced their way into the building by breaking windows and assaulting Capitol police officers, the affidavit stated.
At about 2:20 p.m. Pence and the members of the Senate and the House were told to evacuate the chambers, and they did, the affidavit stated. At that point, all activities of Congress were suspended until about 8 p.m. when every unauthorized person had left the building and police confirmed that it was again secure.
According to the affidavit, a witness called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) on Jan. 7 to report Nichols and Harkrider as two of the people that broke into the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6. The witness provided authorities with the two men’s Facebook accounts and said he or she had seen posts on Nichols’ social media showing both men at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, the affidavit stated.
A second witness called the NTOC on Jan. 9 and gave authorities’ the two men’s ages and places of residence, the affidavit stated.
During the investigation, FBI agents identified Nichols and Harkrider in numerous photographs and videos posted to social media that depicted their alleged unlawful behavior at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
In two photos captioned, “We’re in,” Nichols and Harkrider can be seen on the Capitol Building grounds with a large crowd visible behind them.
“In the photos, Nichols appears with a beard and wearing a Marine Corps camouflage hat, American flag face cover around his neck, and a blue jacket, and Harkrider appears with a beard and wearing a blue and gray baseball hat with a Star on it and a tan jacket,” the affidavit stated.
Another photo shows Nichols holding a red bullhorn and Harkrider wearing a tactical vest under his tan jacket, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit includes other pictures as well. One allegedly shows the two men in front of a smashed window into the Capitol Building, along with the statement, “We ain’t done yet! We just got started!”
In a video obtained by the FBI, a man matching Nichols’ description wearing similar clothes yelled into the bullhorn, “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!” the affidavit stated.
“As shown in another video, Nichols can be seen and heard yelling, “This is the second revolution right here folks! … This is not a peaceful protest.”
According to the affidavit, Nichols and Harkness were identified in another video of a large crowd actively forcing their way into the Capitol Building. At one point, Nichols allegedly grabbed a large, red aerosol can from someone and sprayed it toward the entrance, where Capitol Police Officers were “seeking to restrain the mob of individuals who were forcing entry.”
Other photos showed Nichols and Harkrider inside the Capitol Building, the affidavit stated. In some of the photos and videos included in the affidavit, Nichols is shown holding a crowbar, and Harkrider is shown with a baton.”
The caption to one photo stated, “We’re in. 2 people killed already. We need all the patriots of this country to rally the [expletive] up and fight for our freedom or it’s gone forever. Give us liberty, or give us death. We won’t stand for it.”
The affidavit stated that Nichols made Facebook posts before the Jan. 6 incident that implied he was going to take part, including one with a photo of a bullet that said, “By bullet or ballot restoration of the republic is coming!”
To read the full text of the affidavit, click this link.
You might remember Ryan Nichols as the man who rescued people and animals during Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Nichols even appeared on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres show’ and had a $25,000 donation made to the humane society in his name.
Nichols did similar rescue work during other flooding events and had been interviewed by KLTV 7 several times over the past few years.
Nichols also owns Wholesale Universe. He and his wife also own and operate Simply Unique Boutique in Longview. Nichols was also a part-time agent with Texas Real Estate Executives in Longview. We’re told Nichols was fired last week within hours of learning of his involvement at the U.S. Capitol coming to the light.
Nichols and his wife are no longer active licensed agents in Texas.
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