US Marine charged with assaulting police officers at Capitol riot

Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, was arrested in Virginia, according to the Justice Department.

Warnagiris is accused of attacking, resisting, or obstructing officers. Obstruction of law enforcement in the event of civil unrest; and obstruction of justice; among other fees.

He is the first active officer to be charged, the Pentagon confirmed.

Other current or former service members were previously charged in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol, according to a CNN review of court documents and Pentagon records. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged a member of the Wisconsin National Guard of four federal crimes, including forced entry or disorderly behavior.

The Justice Department says Warnagiris’ actions were captured on a video posted on YouTube and that on Jan. 6, he pushed a number of police officers through the doors of the East Rotunda, who forcibly entered the Capitol.

Then he allegedly stood in the corner of the door and used his body to hold the door open and draw others in. According to prosecutors, Warnagiris resisted when a U.S. Capitol police officer tried to close the doors.

The FBI had searched for Warnagiris’ identity and posted his photo among hundreds of others on his website. The Justice Department stated on indictments that a member of the public who worked with Warnagiris in 2019 had identified him with the FBI, prompting investigators to go to his military command, where they interviewed a Warnagiris employee who said the same Warnagiris was the man featured in the photos from the FBI website.

The US Marine Corps confirmed Warnagiris’ status as a Marine on active duty, saying in a statement that it condemns “racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” adding, “Bigotry and racial extremism are contrary to our core values.”

“Participation in hateful or extremist groups of any kind is in direct contradiction to the core values ​​of honor, courage and commitment that we stand for as Marines and will not be tolerated by the Marine Corps,” said Maj. Melanie Salinas, Marine Corps spokesperson said in the statement.

Warnagiris first appeared in federal court on Thursday and will hold a preliminary hearing in Washington once he hires a lawyer. He did not make a plea and is not being arrested.

At least 400 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, according to a CNN review of court documents. The FBI’s “Most Wanted” website has hundreds of unidentified photos of rioters, suggesting that many of the people who have stormed the Capitol have not yet been charged – and that the unprecedented investigation continues.

The fatal attack injured more than 100 police officers, stopped the electoral college vote counting by Congress for more than five hours, and forced lawmakers to lock down when pro-Trump rioters overran the U.S. Capitol Police.

CNN’s Barbara Starr, Hannah Rabinowitz, Marshall Cohen and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.