Missouri man charged in the storming of the US Capitol
MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri man has been arrested on charges accusing him of taking part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol and livestreaming it from inside the building.
FBI agents and police in Springfield arrested Zachary Martin without incident on Thursday on charges of engaging in illegal activities on Capitol grounds, disorderly conduct and demonstrating inside the Capitol, FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said in a news release.
According to an FBI affidavit, several of Martin’s Facebook friends tipped off the agency that they had watched parts of his livestream from the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the building by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
A widely circulated screenshot that appears to have been taken from the livestream shows a man who looks like Martin standing in front of a painting inside the Capitol, according to the affidavit.
An FBI employee found a link to the video in online discussions but was unable to open it because it was no longer active. However, the FBI was able to trace the link to Martin’s Facebook account, which was closed around Jan. 10, the affidavit states.
One of Martin’s Facebook friends also recalled that Martin said at a Springfield bar during the week before the storming of the Capitol that he planned to travel to Washington, D.C., the affidavit states.
Patton said she didn’t know if Martin had an attorney.
His mother-in-law, Rebecca Olson, 59, of Springfield, said she watched him become progressively more consumed with the QAnon conspiracy theory after Bernie Sanders, whom he supported, lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“He truly felt this was stolen from him and that’s when he started falling down the rabbit hole and saying, ’The government is ruining our lives,’” she said.
She said Martin, who lives in Rogersville, shifted his allegiance to Trump and spent more time on the internet, leading to fights with his wife. She said the couple has been estranged for a couple years; they have three children.
Olson also argued with Martin, trying to debunk the conspiracy theories he touted. She found it strange, noting that he used to be more of a “hippie.” She said that when he first met her daughter, the couple spent winters living in RVs in Colorado and working on the ski slopes.
She was outraged after the riot and texted him, telling him he was wrong and should surrender to the FBI.
“It’s like these people have been programmed and they really have to be deprogrammed,” she said. “They have so much lies and they believe it.”
Dozens of people have been arrested on charges alleging they took part in the insurrection at the Capitol as Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol that day, and more than 800 are believed to have made it inside the building during the siege. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.
At least one other Missouri resident has been charged in the Capitol riot — a woman accused of taking a splintered name plate belonging to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.