Rochester man among first Proud Boys charged with conspiracy after Capitol riots

Rochester man among first Proud Boys charged with conspiracy after Capitol riots”

Dominic Pezzola, 43, had "weapons- and bomb-making manuals" on a thumb drive device found within his home near Rochester, New York, prosecutors said in a court filing arguing that he should be jailed pending trial.

The Justice Department said Pezzola and another member of the Proud Boys, William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, New York, were indicted on charge including conspiracy, civil disorder and unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds.

According to the Department of Justice, which has not posted the charging documents but described the indictments in a news release, Pezzola and Pepe belong to the Proud Boys, a white nationalist group whose members often wear the colors yellow and black.

The complaint alleges the Hughes were identified following a review of surveillance and social media footage and were among a "group of rioters who broke open windows and doors and forced entry into the United States Capitol building".

The Proud Boys have served as a violent supporter for former President Donald Trump who appeared to signal his support for the white supremacy-linked group during a presidential debate previous year when he told its members to "stand back and stand by".

The Rochester native had previously been identified by Vice News as a member of the group and had been spotted in their attire at a rally held in Washington, D.C. on December 12.

According to Vice News' reporting, Pezzola is a former Marine who went to The Aquinas Institute of Rochester, a private high school.

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Indeed, rioters entered the Capitol building that day as members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence were meeting to certify the results of the presidential election.

Once inside the Capitol building, Pezzola chased a police officer up the stairs near the entrance to the Senate chamber, and smoked a cigar while bragging on video about the attack, prosecutors said. "This is f-- awesome".

Pezzola can be seen in a video using a stolen police riot shield to smash a window, while Pepe is shown moving a barrier.

An unidentified witness told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Pezzola was with a group at the Capitol whose members said they would have killed anyone they got hold of, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice-President Mike Pence, according to prosecutors. The witness added that people in the group said they'd return on the "20th" and kill everyone they could.

On Jan. 9, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were able to find Pezzola's publicly available Telegram account. Telegram is an encrypted messaging an calling app, according to the complaint.

Pictures appear to show Pezzola near Doug Jensen, Jake Angeli and Albert Ciarpelli, all of whom have been arrested and charged for their roles in the riot. Ciarpelli lives in Syracuse and was released after being arraigned in federal court.

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