Feds seek jail for Capitol riot suspect found with rifle
A North Carolina man awaiting trial on charges he assaulted two police officers during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol had an assault rifle and ammunition in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving earlier this month, according to prosecutors.
Justice Department prosecutors have asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to revoke 29-year-old James Tate Grant’s pretrial release and order him detained after his recent arrest. One of the conditions of Grant’s pretrial release in the Jan. 6 riot case was that he not possess a firearm or any other weapon.
The judge didn’t immediately rule on Thursday’s request by prosecutors.
On Dec. 7, a police officer in Garner, North Carolina, responding to a report of a suicide threat found Grant pulling out of a restaurant’s parking., according to prosecutors. Grant, who appeared to be intoxicated, told the officer about his involvement in the “January 6th incident,” then tried to flee while the officer placed him under arrest, prosecutors said.
“He then dropped to the ground and stated something to the effect of ‘Just kill me now.’ He then stated, ‘It’s over,’” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Police recovered an AR-15 assault rifle, 60 rounds of ammunition, weapon accessories and combat fatigues from Grant’s car. Grant bought the rifle in April from a North Carolina gun dealer, according to a police report.
“Grant’s statements are of such a concerning nature that there is reason to believe he is a danger not only to the community, but also to himself,” prosecutors wrote.
Peter Cooper, Grant’s attorney in the riot case, didn’t immediately respond Friday to an email seeking comment.
Prosecutors initially didn’t seek Grant’s pretrial detention after his Oct. 14 arrest in North Carolina on Capitol riot-related charges.
Before then-President Donald Trump finished his speech on Jan. 6, Grant and a co-defendant, Ryan Samsel, were among the first rioters to approach Capitol police officers guarding the building, according to prosecutors. Video captured Grant and Samsel leading the first crowd of rioters to enter a restricted area toward a metal barricade where several officers were positioned.
“The two defendants are among those who used violence to set off a chain of events that involved thousands of rioters invading the U.S. Capitol, injuries, deaths, property damage, havoc, and the delay of the certification of a presidential election,” prosecutors wrote.
Grant also entered the Capitol and went inside at least two private Senate offices, according to prosecutors.