A Texas man who helped storm the U.S. Capitol later threatened to kill his wife and children if they turned him in to the authorities, according to federal court documents filed on Monday.
Guy Reffitt, 48, faces charges of obstruction of justice and knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, according to a criminal complaint.
Reffitt allegedly returned home from the riot and bragged that “we stormed the Capitol,” then warned his family he’d shoot any of them who turned him in, his son told investigators. Reffitt’s wife also described multiple instances when he allegedly threatened their lives over turning him in, though she said he was “super passionate” and likely didn’t mean it, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
“If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors,” he told his daughter, according to his wife. “Traitors get shot.”
Authorities say Reffitt is a member of the Three Percenters, a far-right extremist militia, and that he travelled from the Dallas area to D.C. with a firearm and a Go-Pro camera to be part of the events of Jan. 6.
The riot broke out after U.S. President Donald Trump whipped up thousands of his supporters with false claims about the election he lost, then urged them to march on the Capitol where lawmakers were in the process of certifying Joe Biden‘s election win. The mob consisted of a wide range of Trump supporters and far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, white supremacists, militia members and believers in the QAnon hoax.
“The mob was fed lies,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the Senate, said of the riot Tuesday. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed in the riot.
Reffitt was spotted at the riot in a tactical vest and a helmet outfitted with a Go-Pro camera, according to the affidavit. The documents cited Reuters and Fox News footage of Reffitt washing his eyes out on the steps of the Capitol.
GPS data from Reffitt’s phone also placed him at the Capitol during the riot, and his wife and son later confirmed that he’d left to attend the event, the affidavit said.
“It appears that Reffitt was at or past the police line protecting the building, and was sprayed in the eyes with some sort of chemical irritant,” the affidavit said.
Reffitt returned home from the riot on Jan. 8 and initially boasted about his role and the footage he shot, his son told investigators. However, his mood changed a few days later when he said he had to “erase everything” because the FBI was after him, the affidavit said.
That’s when he allegedly started threatening his wife, adult son and underage daughter, according to court documents.
He threatened to “put a bullet” in his daughter’s phone if she posted about his participation on social media, and vowed to “do what he had to do” to protect his country if his family reported him, according to the affidavit.
Investigators arrested Reffitt and searched his home on a warrant Jan. 16. They recovered a pistol and an AR-15 rifle at the scene, documents say.
More than 125 people have been charged in connection with the riot, which played out on national television and across many social media platforms. Vast quantities of evidence have been compiled from the event, in part thanks to the rioters themselves, who broadcast their activities online.
Internet sleuths have been actively helping the FBI identify suspects from the riot, and a running list of the arrests continues to grow each day.
Charges from the riot range from curfew violations to serious federal felonies related to theft and weapons possession.
The rioters failed in their effort to overturn a democratic election result, and Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next president on Wednesday.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.